The Long-Term Benefit of Homeownership

The Long-Term Benefit of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

Today’s cooling housing market, the rise in mortgage rates, and mounting economic concerns have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to factor the long-term benefits of homeownership into your decision.

Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how you gain equity and wealth as home values grow with time.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.

Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.

Home Price Growth Over Time

Even though home price appreciation has moderated this year, home values have still increased significantly in recent years. The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy those gains have been over the last five years.

The Long-Term Benefit of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by almost 64% nationwide over that period. 

That means a home’s value can increase substantially in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains you stand to make become even clearer (see map below):

The Long-Term Benefit of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over roughly a thirty-year span.

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house thirty years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. This is why homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.

Even if home price appreciation eases as the market cools this year, experts say home prices are still expected to appreciate nationally in 2023. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year even if the pace is slower than it was during the peak market frenzy when prices skyrocketed.

The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and fight annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home. It’s an investment in your future that could set you up for long-term gains.

Bottom Line

Don’t let the shifting market delay your dreams. Data shows home values typically appreciate over time, and that gives your net worth a nice boost. If you’re ready to start your journey to homeownership, let’s connect today.

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The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Simplifying The Market

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, let’s connect to explore your options.

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How To Prep Your House for Sale This Fall

How To Prep Your House for Sale This Fall | Simplifying The Market

Today’s housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you’re thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment.

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.

1. Price It Right

One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That’s because the price sends a message to home shoppers. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer. On the flip side, pricing your house too low may make buyers worry there’s some underlying issue or something wrong with the home.

Your goal in pricing your house is to gain the attention of prospective buyers and get them to make an offer. And with price growth and buyer demand moderating, as well as a greater supply of homes available for sale, pricing your home appropriately for where the market is today has become more important than ever before.

But how do you know that perfect number? Pricing your house isn’t a guessing game. It takes skill and expertise. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to determine the current market value for your home.

2. Keep It Clean

It may sound simple but keeping your house clean is another key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As realtor.com says in the Home Selling Checklist:

When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour.”

Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any clutter. Doing these simple things can reduce potential distractions for buyers.

For more tips, check out this checklist for preparing your house for sale. Ultimately an agent is your best resource for tailored advice, but this list can help get you started.

3. Help Buyers Feel at Home

Finally, it’s important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items, like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. It’s also a good idea to remove any excess furniture to help the rooms feel bigger and make sure there’s ample space for touring buyers to stand and look at the layout.

If you’re unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run. As a recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.”

Bottom Line

Selling a house requires prep work and expertise. If you’re looking to sell your house this season, let’s connect so you have advice on how to get it ready to list, how to help it stand out in today’s shifting market, and more.

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Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home, consider the advantages homeownership offers.
  • Buying a home can help you escape the cycle of rising rents, it’s a powerful wealth-building tool, and it’s typically considered a good hedge against inflation.
  • If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of homeownership, let’s connect to explore your options.

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If You’re Thinking of Selling Your House This Fall, Hire a Pro

If You’re Thinking of Selling Your House This Fall, Hire a Pro | Simplifying The Market

Today’s market is at a turning point, making it more essential than ever to work with a real estate professional. Not only will a trusted real estate advisor keep you updated and help you make the best decisions based on current market trends, but they’re also experts in managing the many aspects of selling your house.

Here are five key reasons why working with a real estate professional makes sense today.

1. A Professional Follows the Latest Market Trends

With higher mortgage rates and moderating buyer demand, conditions are changing and staying on top of the latest market information is crucial when you sell.

Working with an expert real estate advisor helps ensure you can stay updated on what’s happening. They know your local area and follow national trends too. More importantly, they’ll know what this data means for you, and as the market shifts, they’ll be able to help you navigate it and make your best decision.

2. A Professional Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers

Your agent’s role in bringing in buyers is important. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

“You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.”

3. A Professional Understands the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains it best, saying:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the fine print means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

4. A Professional Is a Trained Negotiator

If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

In today’s changing market, buyers are regaining some negotiation power as bidding wars ease. Instead of going toe-to-toe with all the above parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

5. A Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may be more likely to overshoot your asking price. That could mean your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high for where the market is now. Today, pricing a house requires even more expertise to ensure you get it right. NAR explains it like this:

“A great real estate agent will look at your home with an unbiased eye, providing you with the information you need to enhance marketability and maximize price.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your home. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s following local and national trends and guiding you through a shifting market or pricing your house right, a real estate agent has essential insights you’ll want to rely on throughout the transaction. Don’t go at it alone.  If you plan to sell your house, let’s connect.

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Why You Should Consider Condos as Part of Your Home Search

Why You Should Consider Condos as Part of Your Home Search | Simplifying The Market

The historically low inventory over the past few years led to challenges for many buyers trying to find a home that met their needs and their budget. If you’re in the same boat, you should know the recent shift in the housing market may have opened up doors for you to restart your search.

The inventory of homes for sale has increased this year, and that’s giving buyers much needed options. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:

“. . . today’s shoppers have more than 5 homes to consider for every 4 they had at this time a year ago.”

But perspective is important. Overall, housing supply is still low. If you need even more choices, expanding your search by adding additional housing types, like condominiums, could help.

Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget

One thing to consider is condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans. But that size difference is one reason why condos can be a more affordable option. According to a recent report from realtor.com, condo buyers paid roughly 7% less for their home than buyers of other housing types last year. With rising mortgage rates and home prices, the relative affordability of a condo could be worth considering.

Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner. Buying a condo now can springboard you into a bigger home later on. An article from the Urban Institute explains:

Because condos and co-ops are generally more affordable, they tend to help first-time homebuyers step onto the first rung of the homeownership ladder. These buyers often use the equity on their condo to then purchase a larger single-family home.

In other words, owning a condo will help you start building wealth in the form of home equity. In time, the equity you build can fuel a future purchase should you decide you want to buy a home with more space or different amenities.

Condo Living Provides Several Great Perks

Boosting the number of options in your budget during your home search is just one reason to consider condos, but there are several other benefits to condo living.

First, they tend to require minimal upkeep and lower maintenance – and that can give you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy. A recent article from Bankrate highlights this, saying:

Condos can be a good option for anyone who wants to keep home maintenance to a minimum . . . if the roof is leaking or the carpet in the lobby needs to be replaced, that’s not your responsibility — the condo association handles those duties.”

Plus, since many condos are located in or near city centers, they offer the added benefit of being in close proximity to work and leisure. Again, realtor.com explains:

“Buying a condo, which is generally less expensive than a single-family home, enables a household to afford to own in the middle of it all, and often means a newer-built home with less maintenance responsibility.”

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo can be a lifestyle choice. And if that appeals to you, they could give you the added options you need to buy your first home.

Bottom Line

Adding condominiums to your housing search could be a great move. If you’re ready to search condos in our area, let’s connect today.

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How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, let’s connect.

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The True Strength of Homeowners Today

The True Strength of Homeowners Today | Simplifying The Market

The real estate market is on just about everyone’s mind these days. That’s because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.

Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:

“U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.”

She continued on to say:

“Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.”

What Is LTV?

The term LTV refers to loan to value ratio. For more context, here’s how the Mortgage Reports defines it:

“Your ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.

You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you’re borrowing 80% of the home’s value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.”

Why Is This Important?

This is yet another reason we won’t see the housing market crash. Home equity allows homeowners to be in control. For example, if someone did need to sell their home, they likely have the equity they need to be able to sell it and still put money in their pocket. This was not the case back in 2008, when many owed more on their homes than they were worth.

Bottom Line

Homeowners today have more financial strength than they have had since 1983. This is a combination of how homeowners have handled equity since the crash and rising home prices of the last two years. And this is yet another reason homeownership in any market makes sense.

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Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to selling your house, you want it to look its best inside and out so it catches the attention of buyers. A real estate professional can help you decide what to do to make that happen.
  • Focus on tasks that can make it inviting, show it’s cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • Let’s connect so you have advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.

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What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | Simplifying The Market

Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.

Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | Simplifying The Market

To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:

“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”   

Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.

Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.

Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.

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