Tag Archives: National Real Estate Market

Busting the Biggest Home-Buying Myths of 2020

This year has been difficult for just about everyone, but if you were (or still are) thinking about buying a home in 2020, you might be feeling more than a little overwhelmed. An ongoing pandemic, the subsequent recession, and general uncertainty have forced many house-hunters to put their real estate dreams on hold. However, despite all these potential obstacles, homeownership is still a very attainable goal.

Don’t Let These Myths Keep You From Buying a Home!

Buying a home is a huge decision, and it’s one you shouldn’t make without careful planning. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding the home-buying process and the real estate market as a whole, especially as the nation continues to navigate an unpredictable year.

Still unsure about making a move during 2020? Here are four of the most common myths that deter today’s buyers—and why you shouldn’t believe them.

It’s not a good time to move

Family packing up for a move

On the surface, this myth may seem true. Towards the beginning of the year, a majority of sellers chose not to list their homes, while many buyers didn’t feel comfortable moving during quarantine. This caused the national real estate market to experience an unusual spring slump. The good news is that the market has made substantial progress since March—actually, real estate has become one of the most stable investments you can make in 2020. 

Pent-up buyer demand has helped the market recover in record time. In fact, the number of mortgage applications, closed sales, and pending sales are up by double-digit percentages compared to last year. And if you’re still hesitant to buy during a pandemic, you’ll be happy to learn that most agents now offer virtual tours and have put social distancing measures in place to keep clients safe.

Homeownership isn’t affordable

Piggy bank and house figure

Does it seem like houses are getting more and more expensive these days? You aren’t just imagining things—home prices are about 6.5% higher than they were last year. This means a home that was worth $250,000 in 2019 could now sell for nearly $270,000.

While this may seem like bad news for buyers, you shouldn’t be deterred by rising prices. Historically low interest rates have helped to make homes more affordable, even as they continue increasing in value. Although a small change in interest rates may not seem drastic, it can actually save you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifespan of your loan.

If you already have a bit saved up in the bank for a down payment, buying a home can even be more affordable than renting. Today’s average mortgage payment of $1,275 is $188 less than the average monthly rent. That equates to a savings of over $2,200 per year!

You need a 20% down payment

Saving for a down payment

You’ve probably heard that you need at least a 20% down payment to buy a home. While there is merit to putting down as much as possible, you can still purchase your own place with as little as 0% down by using the right loan.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, the median down payment for all buyers in 2019 was just 12%, and first-timers only put down an average of 6%. You might also qualify for an FHA or VA loan, which offer down payments as low as 3.5% or 0%, respectively.

It’s worth researching different types of mortgages, as well as down payment assistance programs available in your area. They could provide the financial boost you need to finally buy a home!

You can’t buy if you have debt or bad credit

Calculating and reducing debt

The average American has accrued $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. Even if you don’t owe quite that much, any kind of debt or a low credit score can seem like a pretty big roadblock if you’re trying to make a move. However, there are still a few options that can get you on the path to homeownership.

The easiest way to boost your credit score is to pay off your debts; consolidating your loans into one monthly payment could help you reduce your debt-to-income ratio. There are also a variety of loans tailored to buyers with lower credit scores, such as FHA, VA, or balloon mortgages.

It can take time to pay off debt and rebuild your credit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards buying a home. If you have any questions about your individual situation, it’s best to contact your agent or financial advisor. They’ll have plenty of resources available to guide you in the right direction!  

Take Advantage of a Hot Market

Are you thinking about buying a home before the end of the year? Contact us today to get the ball rolling on your real estate journey! We look forward to teaming up and finding you a place that checks all the boxes.

Need to sell before you buy? We can help with that, too!

What Increasing Home Prices Mean for Today’s Buyers and Sellers

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a whirlwind would be an understatement. And as we get closer to the end of the year, many buyers and sellers are wondering if it makes financial sense to enter the market. Although the warmer months are typically considered the best time to move, buyer demand continues to surge into fall, while the available supply of homes just keeps dwindling. This has caused home prices to skyrocket to one of their highest points ever.

Need some advice before breaking into today’s competitive housing market? We have a few details to consider before making any big decisions.

Buying or Selling Soon? Here’s How Rising Home Prices Will Affect Your Move

Real estate has always been about supply and demand. For example, during the housing market crash of 2008, home prices plummeted partially because of low buyer interest. Today, though, we’re seeing the opposite—prices are increasing due to waning supply and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates.

This is fantastic news for anyone looking to sell their home and cash out on their hard-earned equity. Buyers, on the other hand, may have to do more to stand out from the competition.

Why have home values increased?

Increasing home values

Even amidst a pandemic and national recession, buying a home is still a top priority for many Americans. In fact, according to a newly released report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of existing home sales reached a 14-year high this August. A similar report by Bloomberg states that if current demand holds strong, we could run out of housing inventory in around three months.

Wondering why so many people are clamoring to buy this year? Even in the face of rising home prices, low mortgage rates have enticed buyers to make a move. While record-shattering rates have helped to expand purchasing power, this intense desire for homeownership has caused prices to jump by a whopping 8.2% year-over-year.

Buyers can take advantage of lower interest rates to afford a more expensive home

Family buying a home

If you’re thinking about buying a home soon, you’ll need to be prepared to navigate a cutthroat market. Ever since rates started decreasing in late 2019, more and more buyers have decided to start searching for a home. Unfortunately, this means you could get caught in a bidding war or might have to make some compromises to secure a place of your own.

Although prices have soared dramatically since last year, buying a home is still an attainable goal. In fact, when mortgage rates sunk below 3% this summer, buyers found themselves with an extra $15,000 in purchasing power.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by today’s market, you’re not alone—and reaching out to an agent can help you get the answers you need. Consider contacting a real estate professional before you start looking for homes. They can provide the expertise you need to find your perfect place!

Sellers should expect to sell quickly and for top dollar

Today’s sellers are in a better position than ever before. Nationally, the housing market has struggled to keep pace with buyer demand for the last few years, but this deficiency has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. By listing now, you could take advantage of fierce rivalry amongst buyers, high home prices, and low competition from other sellers.

Despite the ongoing recession, home prices have actually climbed throughout most of 2020. Between May and July, existing properties appreciated in value by a whopping 2%, which is the highest month-by-month increase in three decades. If you’ve lived in your home for at least a few years, you could be sitting on six figures of equity.

Even if you aren’t interested in selling, there’s never been a better time to check on your house’s current value. A top-rated local agent should be able to perform a full home analysis and tell you how much you could sell for if you listed today. 

Bottom Line: Now Is the Time to Talk with an Agent

Buying a home

Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling your home, you shouldn’t wait to connect with an agent who has plenty of experience in your desired area. They can help you keep up with today’s ever-changing market and answer any questions you might have.

Not quite ready to move? It’s still worth talking with an agent about your current home’s value, especially as we continue to see such dramatic price increases!

Ready to Take Your Next Steps?

No matter what your real estate needs might be, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us today and let us know what we can do for you. We can even conduct a comparative market analysis on your home to see how much equity you’ve gained over time!

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Real Estate

If you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home in the near future, the unprecedented events of the last few weeks might have left you feeling a bit uncertain. COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected all of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you need to press pause on your real estate dreams. 

We want to set the record straight about how these changes to everyday life affect buyers, sellers, and agents…and how you can protect yourself while continuing to pursue your goals. 

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Real Estate Market?

Our way of life has changed dramatically within the course of just a few weeks, and the real estate market has shifted, too. Have a few questions? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but here’s what we know right now.

Expect some major market shifts

Person studying COVID-19 graph

As we adjust to a new normal, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on every industry in the country—including real estate. However, this doesn’t mean that investors aren’t still buying and selling homes. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that 61% of sellers plan to keep their houses on the market, and over half of buyers will continue to shop for a home.

Although we’ll likely see a reduced number of sales in the coming weeks and months, record-low interest rates and a continuously low supply of homes might help to prevent any drastic price drops. Many economists also believe that another housing market crash is unlikely due to new regulations and stricter mortgage qualifications. 

Buying and Selling a Home During COVID-19

As of early April, agents are continuing to help their clients buy and sell homes—but you can expect to see some changes aimed at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Essential Tips for Sellers

Cleaning supplies

Selling a home during the COVID-19 outbreak is definitely uncharted territory, but as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, it’s not impossible. Many sellers and their agents have worked together to pioneer new marketing strategies…some of which might last even after life returns to normal. Before you start scheduling those virtual showings, here are some tips to consider.

Make sure you’re healthy

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that every member of your household is healthy before and during the selling process. Alert your agent right away if you’re feeling sick so they can halt in-person showings. 

Sanitize your home

As a seller, your main priority should be ensuring that your home is germ-free, especially before a showing. We recommend wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes and sprays and offering hand sanitizer to potential buyers. Reduce unnecessary touching by pre-opening any doors, cabinets, or drawers and turning on all lights before a showing.

Capitalize on digital marketing

If you still plan on selling soon, have your agent use the latest digital marketing techniques to really showcase your listing. Open houses and showings might be out, but virtual tours and showings via video sharing platforms are in—and it’s important to capitalize on these techniques to draw in potential buyers.

Essential Tips for Buyers

Person using a tablet

Believe it or not, it’s still possible to buy a home during these uncertain times—and modern technology is making everything easier than you might expect. Here’s how to stay safe and healthy throughout the entire buying process.

Make sure you’re healthy 

If you’re feeling ill, it’s important that you stay home, practice social distancing, and avoid any showings. However, you can still continue to tour homes virtually and chat with your agent via online meetings.

Use virtual homebuying technology

Thanks to new innovations, it’s easier than ever to explore listings from the comfort of your couch. If you don’t want to attend a showing, many agents provide in-depth virtual tours and personal walkthroughs through video platforms like FaceTime and Zoom. 

It’s also possible to complete the entire closing process remotely. Chances are, most documents can be signed electronically, which adds another layer of convenience and safety. Some states even allow you to virtually notarize your paperwork! 

Take extra precautions during in-person showings

Want to see a home in person before making an offer? If your agent still offers normal showings, there are a few extra steps you should take to keep yourself (and the sellers) safe. Carry hand sanitizer with you and try to refrain from touching any surfaces. This might be difficult, but it’s the easiest way to mitigate the spread of germs. If your community has a shelter-in-place order, you may have to postpone any in-person showings until restrictions are lifted.

Have More Questions?

As we navigate the changes inflicted upon the market by COVID-19, it’s crucial to consider your individual needs and follow local guidelines. We’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist our clients, and we’re determined to protect your health and safety while helping you meet your goals. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

A New Kind of Home Buyer: Tips for Marketing Your Home to Millennials

A young millennial couple standing in front of the home they've just purchased.

Millennials get a lot of flack, but they’re an important part of the real estate market. In fact, they make up the largest generational percentage of home buyers right now!

So, if you’re planning on selling your home soon, it’s important to keep the average millennial home buyer in mind. This generation is unlike any that’s come before it, and the way they buy everything (from laundry detergent to life insurance) is unique.

When it comes to catching the eye of the discerning millennial home buyer, here’s what you need to do:

Create a Strong Internet Presence

It goes without saying that millennials rely on the Internet for, well, everything. This isn’t unusual: the Internet makes every kind of shopping easier and more accessible.

As such, giving your home an effective online presence is key. It needs to be easy to find via the most popular home-buying networks, and it has to look great no matter the screen size. After all, more home buyers than ever before are using their smartphones to find their dream home.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Professional Listing Photos

A beautiful modern kitchen.

Because millennials rely on the Internet to search homes for sale, your home’s photos have to stand out in a big way. After all, with the right photographer even the smallest home can look like a palace.

So, don’t skimp on this expense! Great photos could be the difference between a home selling within hours, and a home languishing on the market for months.

Show How Your Home Will Improve their Lifestyle

Millennials are looking for homes that will improve their lifestyles and be close to wherever they need to be during the week. As you market your home online, be sure you’re highlighting both its features and location in your listing description.

Tell an exciting story of how much better their life will be once they buy your home! Craft your listing description to carefully touch on all the best parts of your home and its surroundings, and let buyers know exactly why they need to buy it.

Know What Millennials are Looking for in a Home

A pair of hands typing on a smart phone.

So, what are millennials looking for anyway? Market research finds that millennial buyers are attracted to affordable homes with eco-friendly and smart features. If your home has any green features or environmentally friendly add-ons, you’ll definitely want to highlight them.

In addition, if you’ve outfitted your home to accommodate any smart features that use technology—like a Nest thermostat or other Smart Home appliances—be sure to mention that in your listing description and social media promotion.

Use a Pro to Market Your Home

The easiest way to market your home to millennials? Work with a real estate specialist who understands this unique market—and how to best target real estate’s next generation of buyers.

Give us a call today for more information about selling your home to millennials!

How to Sell Your Home (While Buying a New Home)

It’s a common real estate predicament: selling the home you currently live in while trying to buy a new one. So… what’s the most efficient way to go about it?

All in all, it depends on your situation. Are you willing to buy a second home without having sold your first one? Or are you relying on the payoff from your current home for the down payment on your new one? Are you relocating? Upgrading? Downsizing? Your reasons for selling will most likely dictate how you’ll go about the process.

So, here are four things to keep in mind when you’re buying and selling a home at the same time.

It’s All About Timing

Group of people consulting a calendar.What works best for you? If you’re selling your home because you’re relocating to a new area, it might more more sense to sell your current home first before buying a new home in a new market.

However, if you have enough money saved up for a down payment, it may be easier to buy your new home first, then sell your old home once you’ve moved to the new one.

So Do Your Research

A great place to start is by researching the market. If there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, this is called a “buyer’s market”, meaning the conditions are ideal for buyers. Oppositely, if there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, the conditions favor sellers (a “seller’s market”). If you’re buying and selling in two different markets, you’ll have to research both.

If you opt to buy before selling, make an offer on the new home with a sale and settlement contingency. You can then request an extended closing.

And Consider Your Money, Money, Money

A pile of money next to a checkbook with a pen.Look closely at your bank account; what is it telling you?

The answer to your current question (Should I buy or should I sell first?) most likely lies within. Begin by meeting with your financial advisor or mortgage lender. You’ll want to look at three main financial factors: a) The amount of money you have in liquid cash, b) The equity in your current home, and c) The amount of the new loan you qualify for.

A big part of this is knowing the resale value of your current home. It’s also a good idea to have a pre-inspection completed on your home, so you can take care of any maintenance issues that might deter potential buyers down the road… and maybe even bump up your home value a bit.

Your Equity is Also Crucial

To find the equity on your home, take its current market value and subtract what’s left on your mortgage.

Need to know the current market value of your home? Use our home evaluation tool! Please reach out to us to learn more.

Work With the Right Realtor

Even if you’re not buying and selling a home at the same time, the right Realtor can transform your real estate experience. A great local agent has the expertise and resources you need for a streamlined, stress-free, and successful real estate transaction.

If you’re in search of an expert agent in the area, we have the experience, resources, and area knowledge to assist you in your upcoming home sale and/or purchase. Give us a call today to learn more.

Home Buying Terminology: A Cheat Sheet

Buying a home shouldn’t be rocket science. You find the perfect home, make an offer to the seller, pay a couple of fees, and bam! You just bought a home.

However, buying a home actually has a lot of moving parts which include a number of funny real estate terms you’ve probably never heard before. Are Realtors and real estate agents even speaking English anymore?

To help you out, we’ve come up with a cheat sheet so you’ll know exactly what we are talking about when we explain the home-buying process.

Pre-Approval

Two adults meeting over a stack of paper.If you meet with an agent before you begin looking for homes, they’ll likely recommend you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Mortgage pre-approval is the best first step to buying a home, because it essentially sets your budget for you.

Pre-approval involves sitting down with a lender to discuss your financial portfolio. This includes your credit score, borrowing history, outstanding debts, annual income, and any assets you have. After reviewing all of this, the lender gives you an exact number: that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Not only is your budget set, home sellers will take you more seriously because they know you can qualify for enough loan to support your offer.

Earnest Money

Two parents sitting with a child who is opening a piggy bank full of coins.Defined loosely, earnest money is the money you pay to confirm a contract. When you’re buying a home, this is essentially a good faith deposit. It lets the seller know that you’re serious—serious enough to go ahead and put money down.

This money sits in a joint account (called an “escrow” account) held by both the buyer and seller. When the home purchase is finalized, the earnest money goes toward the buyer’s down payment.

Due Diligence

A few bills next to a checklist that has home-buying items on it.Due diligence refers to the period of time after the seller has accepted a buyer’s offer. This is the time when you as the buyer can schedule inspections, confirm financing, and make sure that buying this home is in your best interest.

Now’s the time to do some research! Have the home inspected by a professional to ensure nothing is wrong with it, consult public records to learn more about its past homeownership, as well as any environmental issues in the neighborhood, and work with your lender to make sure this is a good financial decision.

So…. Are Realtors and Agents the Same Thing?

Yes and no. The primary difference between REALTOR®s and real estate agents is the National Association of Realtors, also known as the NAR. The NAR is a professional organization of real estate brokers that abides by a specific Code of Ethics that all REALTOR®s are required to follow.

A real estate agent works under a brokerage, but is not necessarily a licensed NAR member.

Let’s Find Your Dream Home Together

Young couple being handed the keys to their new home.We’ll never hide behind big words when it comes to helping you find the home that’s right for you.

Give us a call today to begin your home-buying journey.