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Buying

Guidance and Support Are Key When Buying Your First Home

In June, the number of first-time homebuyers accounted for 35% of the existing homes sold, a trend that’s been building steadily throughout the year. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“The share of first-time buyers increased in March through June—right into the heart of the pandemic period and the surge in unemployment—and is now trending higher than the 29% to 32% average in past years since 2012.” (See graph below):

Why the rise in first-time homebuying?

NAR continues to say:

“The major factor is, arguably, low mortgage rates. As of the week ended July 16, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 2.98%. With rates so low that are locked in under a 30-year mortgage, the typical mortgage payment, estimated at $1,036, has fallen below the median rent, at $1,045. For potential home buyers who were thinking of purchasing a home anyway before the pandemic outbreak and who are likely to remain employed, the low mortgage rate may be the clincher.”

Clearly, historically low mortgage rates are encouraging many to buy. With the average mortgage payment now estimated at a lower monthly cost than renting, it’s a great time for first-time homebuyers to enter the market. According to the Q2 2020 Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB):

“Eighty-four percent of Gen Z’s planning to buy a home are first timers, compared to 68% of Millennials, 52% of Gen X’s, and 21% of Boomers. Looking at results by region shows that over 60% of prospective buyers in the Northeast and South are buying a home for the first time. The share is above 55% in the Midwest and West.”

There are, however, challenges for first-time buyers. A recent survey conducted by NeighborWorks America also notes that understanding the homebuying process may be the most significant barrier for many hopeful homeowners:

“Homeownership is a particular challenge for many, despite high levels of interest. Americans believe there are many benefits to homeownership and half of non-owners will seek information about the process in the next few years…a large share of non-owners say the process is too challenging and only a minority know where to find advice if they wanted it. And although many would seek the guidance of community and non-profit programs, only one in three non-owners are aware of such services.”

If you’re among the first-time homebuyers who feel the process is complicated, you’re not alone. If you’re not sure where to begin or you simply want help in figuring out how to save for a home, finding a trusted real estate advisor to work with is a critical step toward your success. A real estate professional can help you understand the process, review your current situation, and guide you with a plan to help you to feel confident when buying a home.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in purchasing a home and need help getting started, let’s connect today so you can take advantage of the support available to guide you through each step of the way.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Categories
Buying

Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows for Three Consecutive Weeks

Over the past several weeks, Freddie Mac has reported the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to record lows, all the way down to 3.03%. Last week’s reported rate reached the lowest point in the history of the survey, which dates back to 1971 (See graph below):

What does this mean for buyers?

This is huge for homebuyers. Those currently taking advantage of the increasing affordability that comes with historically low interest rates are winning big. According to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:

“The summer is heating up as record low mortgage rates continue to spur homebuyer demand.”

In addition, move.com notes:

“Summer home buying season is off to a roaring start. As buyers flooded into the market, realtor.com® monthly traffic hit an all-time high of 86 million unique users in June 2020, breaking May’s record of 85 million unique users. Realtor.com® daily traffic also hit its highest level ever of 7 million unique users on June 25, signaling that despite the global pandemic buyers are ready to make a purchase.”

Clearly, buyers are capitalizing on today’s low rates. As shown in the chart below, the average monthly mortgage payment decreases significantly when rates are as low as they are today.

A lower monthly payment means savings that can add up significantly over the life of a home loan. It also means that qualified buyers may be able to purchase more home for their money. Maybe that’s a bigger home than what they’d be able to afford at a higher rate, an increasingly desirable option considering the amount of time families are now spending at home given today’s health crisis.

Bottom Line

If you’re in a position to buy a home this year, let’s connect to initiate the process while mortgage rates are historically low.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Categories
Moving

5 Stress-Reducing Tips for Planning Your Long-Distance Move

Move-in day excitement shouldn’t be overshadowed by moving day anxiety. Some smart preparation can go a long way towards making moving a little more uplifting (and a little less heavy lifting). Here are 5 things you can do leading up to your move to make for less stress on moving day.

1. Consider Your Move Date

Like tomatoes and pumpkin spice lattes, there is a peak season for moving, which falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But unlike tomato sandwiches, moving is actually best done during the off season for the most options and the best prices. Considering that the first and last weeks of the month can be particularly popular as well, a mid-week, mid-month move during the months of October–April is recommendedas your best bet.

Having access to the widest array of dates and times means that you’ll be able to plan your move when it’s most convenient for you. Plus, you’ll save money by scheduling during a slower time of the year.

2. Have a Packing Plan

Less stuff equals less stress when it comes to packing. Instead of blindly beginning to box your belongings, take stock in what you actually want to bring with you when you move. To get started, consult this step-by-step guide to the pre-move purge for tips on what you should consider when deciding what stays and what goes.

This meticulous approach keeps you sane and helps you plan—knowing exactly what you’ll be moving and how unwieldy those items is key for deciding what kind of moving company you’ll need.

Compare quotes from long-distance moving companies.

3. Do Your Research

Options can be overwhelming, but having the right information will make you feel confident that you’re hiring the right team for your move. When it comes to moving companies, they generally fall into 3 major categories: full-service, self-service, and specialized. How much you have to move, what kind of items you’re moving, and your budget will determine which category of moving company makes the most sense. In broad terms, a full-service moving company handles every part of the move—from packing to transporting to unloading at your final destination. A self-service company generally handles only the transportation part of the move (meaning that packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading the truck are up to you) and specialized moving companies are trained in proper techniques for moving unique items like antiques, art, appliances, or pianos.

Once you have an idea of the type of moving company you’ll need, get 3-4 moving quotes from properly licensed and insured professional movers to thoroughly compare your options.

4. Budget Accordingly

Expenses can add up quickly when you’re moving long-distance, so keeping track of your budget is a crucial step in your pre-move plan. Your moving quote will be a powerful tool to help you budget. There are a few different types of estimates you can receive, but the most popular type is called a binding not-to-exceed or guaranteed not-to-exceed estimate. This type of estimate ensures that the most you’ll pay is the quoted price, but you’ll pay less if the actual weight of your belongings is less than the estimated weight. Once you have an idea of what you’ll pay for your moving service, remember to additionally budget for tipping your movers. $10 per person for a half-day move and $20 for a full day is a good place to start.

5. Think About Moving Insurance

When you’ve taken care to pack only your most meaningful belongings, the last thing you want is to worry about them being damaged on their way to your destination. Moving insurance can give you peace of mind. By law, all moving companies must provide 2 coverage options for out-of-state moves: Full Value Protection and Released Value Protection. Full Value Protection requires movers to replace items damaged during moving or reimburse the current value. Released Value Protection only requires reimbursement at $0.60 per pound. You can ask the moving companies giving you quotes what expanded coverage they may offer, or, if your items are particularly valuable, you may want to consider carrying your own third-party moving insurance policy as well.

Ready to get moving? Start by comparing your options with Moving.comto get quotes from their network of licensed and insured professional movers. You’ll be on your way to planning a happier move.

Posted on realtor.com

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Categories
For Homeowners

Top Reasons to Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to consider the benefits of owning your own home.
  • If you’re in a position to buy, homeownership might help you find the stability, community, and comfort you’ve been searching for this year.
  • Let’s connect today to determine if homeownership is the right next step for you and your family.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Categories
Buying

The Benefits of Homeownership May Reach Further Than You Think

More than ever, our homes have become an integral part of our lives. Today they are much more than the houses we live in. They’re evolving into our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection for our families through the evolving health crisis. Today, 65.3% of Americans are able to call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.

June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of owning your own home. Below are some highlights and quotes recently shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From non-financial to financial, and even including how owning a home benefits your local economy, these items may give you reason to think homeownership stretches well beyond a sound dollars and cents investment alone.

Non-Financial Benefits

Owning a home brings families a sense of happiness, satisfaction, and pride.

  • Pride of Ownership: It feels good to have a place that’s truly your own, especially since you can customize it to your liking. “The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment achieved through homeownership can enhance psychological health, happiness and well-being for homeowners and those around them.”
  • Property Maintenance and Improvement: Your home is your stake in the community, and a way to give back by driving value into your neighborhood.
  • Civic Participation: Homeownership creates stability, a sense of community, and increases civic engagement. It’s a way to add to the strength of your local area.

Financial Benefits

Buying a home is also an investment in your family’s financial future.

  • Net Worth: Homeownership builds your family’s net worth. “The median family net worth for all homeowners ($231,400) increased by nearly 15% since 2013, while net worth ($5,000) actually declined by approximately 9% since 2013 for renter families.”
  • Financial Security: Equity, appreciation, and predictable monthly housing expenses are huge financial benefits of homeownership. Homeownership is truly the best way to improve your long-term net worth.

Economic Benefits

Homeownership is even a local economic driver.

  • Housing-Related Spending: An economic force throughout our nation, housing-related expenses accounted for more than one-sixth of the country’s economic activity over the past three decades.
  • GDP Growth: Homeownership also helps drive GDP growth as the country aims to make an economic rebound. “Every 10% increase in total housing market wealth would translate to approximately $147 billion in additional consumer spending, or 0.8% of GDP, as well as billions of dollars in new federal tax revenue.”
  • Entrepreneurship: Homeownership is even a form of forced savings that provides entrepreneurial opportunities as well. “Owning a home enables new entrepreneurs to obtain access to credit to start or expand a business and generate new jobs by using their home as collateral for small business loans.”

Bottom Line

The benefits of homeownership are vast and go well beyond the surface level. Homeownership is truly a way to build financial freedom, find greater satisfaction and happiness, and make a substantial impact on your local economy. If owning a home is part of your dream, let’s connect today so you can begin the homebuying process.

Posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Categories
Buying Uncategorized

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

KCM

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

KCM Graph

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

Posted by The KCM Crew

 

Ready to buy? Click HERE to get started!

 

 

Categories
Buying

The Perks of Buying a Home in the Fall

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 16, 2015. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

As we close out a summer marked by rising home prices and limited supply, we’re conditioned to expect the inevitable end-of-season slowdown. But the change of season doesn’t mean activity drops off completely – in fact, fall’s arrival presents opportunities for homebuyers, in part due to a “back-to-school mentality,” according to a survey by ERA Real Estate.

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, tap into that renewed sense of motivation – and consider the following perks – while hunting for a home this fall.

You can enjoy year-end tax breaks. Buying before the year’s out allows fall homebuyers to take advantage of tax breaks such as the mortgage interest and property tax deductions. “There are certain deductions that can be claimed by homeowners only,” explains 1040Return.com Founder John Gregory. “If you have taken out a homeowner’s loan, consider these deductions as Uncle Sam’s gift to you.” To learn more about the tax benefits available to homeowners, click here.

You can sidestep the multiple-bid minefield. Bidding wars dominated low inventory markets this summer, but competition tends to wane as activity slows in the fall. With fewer folks searching for homes, fall homebuyers can spend less time chasing supply and more time finding – and getting – the perfect home.

You may have more bargaining power. Aside from less competition, fall homebuyers may have the opportunity to purchase their home of choice at a reduced price, especially when negotiating with sellers who had hoped to unload their homes over the summer.

Related Link: If Your Home Didn’t Sell This Summer, Don’t Despair – Fall and Winter Are Great Times to Sell, Too

You’ll be home for the holidays – literally. As ERA reports in their survey, fall homebuying activity is also fueled by emotional motivation. “As vacations wind down after Labor Day and people become more focused, the desire to be in a new home for the holidays is a historically strong driver of fall home sales,” says ERA President and CEO Charlie Young.

 

Posted by Suzanne De Vita on RISMedia’s House Call

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Categories
Buying

Are You Ready to Graduate From Renting to Owning a Home?

With graduation season in full swing, many may be pondering a change in their living quarters. Some may be moving out of Mom and Dad’s house into dorms, or maybe out of dorms into their own apartments.

But what if you’re ready to take an even bigger step—moving out of a rental into a home you can call your own?

Buying a house, after all, is a great way to put down roots and build wealth (since homes tend to appreciate so you can sell later for a profit). But purchasing property isn’t a simple process, so you should make sure you’re prepared.

So, how do you know if you’re ready to move from an apartment to a house? Ask yourself these questions below to get a sense of where you’re at—or what you have to do to transition easily into home-buying mode once the time is right.

jacoblund/iStock

Can you afford to buy a home?

For starters, let’s talk money. Buying a home is a hefty purchase, probably the largest you’ll ever make. So, you’ll need a down payment (typically recommended to be 20% of the home’s purchase price) and steady income (i.e., a job) to pay your mortgage.

There are other costs also associated with homeownership:

  • Closing costs (typically 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price)
  • Home insurance (cost varies by state)
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Budget for unseen repairs and emergencies

While renting might seem more economical than owning at first glance, that’s not always the case; our rent vs. buy calculator can help you compare the costs. You might be surprised by the results!

Another good first step to figuring out whether you can afford a house is to enter your salary and town of residence into a home affordability calculator, which will show you how much you’d pay for a mortgage on a typical house in that area. Or talk with a loan officer about whether you would qualify for a mortgage, and how much you can spend comfortably. Such consultations are free, and will give you a concrete dollars-and-cents sense of where you stand.

Are you settled in your job?

Your job situation is not only important in terms of income to buy a home, but also whether you’re happy where you work and plan to stay put. Because once you own a home, your career prospects do narrow somewhat, purely because a home anchors you to one area.

“Homeowners tend to have fewer job opportunities compared to renters, since renters can easily accept a job in another city or state,” says Reid Breitman, managing partner at Kuzyk Law, in Los Angeles. “A homeowner may decline such an opportunity because they don’t want to go through the cost, time, and expense of selling their home. So, it may be better to wait to purchase a house until after you’re firmly established in your employment situation.”

Do you know where you want to live?

Since moving once you own a home is not as easy as just packing your bags (which, let’s face it, is a hassle in itself), you really need to make sure you’re picking a home in an area where you’ll be happy.

“It’s not easy to just sell a house and move to a new one if intolerable neighborhood issues come up, since the transaction cost to sell—up to 8% to 10% of the sale price for brokerage feesescrowtitle, and other costs of sale—would be relatively very expensive,” Breitman says. “So you need to really scope out the neighborhood.”

When in doubt, try renting for a few months to make sure you like the area before you start shopping for a home to own for good.

How much home maintenance are you willing to tackle?

If you love the challenge of fixing a leaky faucet and figuring out which shrubs will flourish in your yard, homeownership may be right up your alley. But if the idea of mowing a lawn or messing with the HVAC makes you depressed, then you may want to stick with renting, which gives you a roof over your head without the work.

“Apartment renters don’t have many home-related responsibilities,” explains Brian Davis, director of SparkRental, in Baltimore. “If something breaks, they call the landlord. Often, they don’t even need to worry about setting up utilities; they either come with the building, or the process is merely changing the name on an existing utility account.”

Living in a house you own is a different story. There’s no landlord to call if anything goes wrong; it’s all up to you. So you have to be either adept as a handyman, or willing to find and pay someone else to do such tasks. Or else consider buying a condo or co-op, where the lawns and public areas around your home are maintained by hired help.

Bottom line: Owning a home is a big commitment. So before you jump into it, you should have confidence that it works for your circumstances.

“No one should feel like they have to follow a template, that by reaching a certain age or having a certain number of children they need a house in the suburbs,” Davis says. “So forget the clichés and movies, and decide based on you.”

 

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans on realtor.com

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Categories
Buying

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Owning a Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.
  • Living within a budget right now will help you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts that might be holding you back.
  • What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership a reality?

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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Categories
Buying

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home?

We recently shared that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. Over that same time period, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market.

As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report,home prices will appreciate by 5.2% over the next 12 months.

What Does This Mean as a Buyer?

If home prices appreciate by 5.2% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

Bottom Line

If buying a home is in your plan for this year, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your loan.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Are you ready to buy? Visit our website today to get started with one of our many qualified agents!