Category Archives for "First Time Home Buyers"

What is the Best Investment for Americans?

What is the Best Investment for Americans? | Simplifying The Market

Some are reporting that there is trepidation regarding the real estate market in the United States. Apparently, the American people are quite comfortable.

Porch.com, a major network helping homeowners with their renovation projects, recently conducted a survey which asked Americans:

“What do you believe is the safest investment over the next 10 years?”

U.S. housing came in at number one, beating out other investments such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings.

Here is a graph showing the top five investments Americans selected:What is the Best Investment for Americans? | Simplifying The MarketThe findings of the Porch.com survey also coincide with two previous surveys done earlier this year:

  1. The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2019 Consumer Expectations Housing Survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment, and that the percentage has increased in each of the last four years.
  2. The Gallup survey showed that Americans have picked real estate as the “best” investment for six straight years.

Bottom Line

Based on all three surveys done this year, we can see that Americans still believe in homeownership as a great investment, and that feeling continues to grow.

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It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day!

It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day! | Simplifying The Market

Did you know that each year in the United States, we celebrate “National Roof Over Your Head Day” on December 3rd?

As noted on the National Calendar, it was “created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head. There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them.”

From bungalows to cottages, and farmhouses to treehouses, today we show our appreciation and gratitude for the places we call home. Owning the roof that shelters us is something many renters still aspire to, knowing there are so many financial and non-financial benefits to homeownership.

According to the 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University,

“Cost-burdened renters now outnumber cost-burdened homeowners by more than 3.0 million. In addition, renters make up 10.8 million of the 18.2 million severely burdened households that pay more than half their incomes for housing.”

Homeownership drives many benefits, including providing families with a place to feel secure. It also helps promote confidence that they are investing proactively in themselves and their communities. That is why there are 77.7 million owner-occupied housing units in the United States.

Many, however, fear it is too expensive to own a home. In reality, however, it’s actually more expensive to rent. Here’s the breakdown as a percentage of income necessary for both – affording median rent and owning a home:It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Today we pause to appreciate the places we call home, and all of the other reasons we have to be truly thankful. For those who don’t own yet and would like to, it’s a wonderful time to start identifying the steps to take toward homeownership. Let’s connect today to begin creating your plan.

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Buyers Are Looking For Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Buyers Are Looking For Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Buyers Are Looking For Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales are currently at an annual pace of 5.46 million.
  • The inventory of existing homes for sale remains below the 6 months needed for a normal market and is now at a 3.9-month supply.
  • Inventory remains low due to high demand from buyers who are still looking for a house to buy!

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7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season

7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season | Simplifying The Market

Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to list their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why listing your house now or keeping it on the market this winter may be the best choice you can make.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there now. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays, and they need their new employees to start as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to days and times that are most convenient for you. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Over the past few months we’ve seen the supply of homes for sale decreasing year-over-year, as shown in the graph below:7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season | Simplifying The Market
  6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching, and your home may be the answer.
  7. Late fall and early winter make up the “sweet spot” for sellers. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights in 2020, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.

Bottom Line

It may make the most sense to list your home this holiday season. Let’s get together to determine if selling now is your best move.

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Expert Advice: 3 Benefits to Owning a Home

Expert Advice: 3 Benefits to Owning a Home | Simplifying The Market

Success is something often worth repeating, and Brent Sutherland, a Certified Financial Planner and Real Estate Investor, has certainly made his way in a momentum-driving direction. Here are 3 tips he shares from a recent piece in Business Insider on the benefits of owning real estate:

1. Real estate diversifies your income

“While it is certainly important to be properly diversified with your investments, it is even more important to be diversified with your income. This is because the largest financial risk for most of you is the loss of your primary source of income, which is typically in the form of a day job.”

The article highlights how having multiple sources of income, such as those derived from real estate investments, can eventually lead to relying less and less on a day job. Sound dreamy? It can be. When done well, real estate investments may eventually open up your time and the financial freedom to explore other things, like travel and other aspirations you may have for the future, particularly in the golden years of retirement.

2. Real estate produces near-immediate results

“You can achieve and feel the results almost immediately. Property improvements are visible and tangible. You can cash, spend, and invest rent payments. Today! Not 30 years in the future.”

Currently, home prices are appreciating in all price ranges, and just last week CoreLogic announced their 12-month home value projection at 5.6%, an increase from 4.5% noted earlier this summer. With that in mind, real estate today is definitely driving immediate results!

3. Passive income can help you become financially independent sooner

“If you need $40,000 a year to live, you could alternatively invest in assets that generate an 8% cash-on-cash return. This is a very reasonable assumption. And it means you would only need to save a total of $500,000 (instead of $1 million). Yet, your investments would still meet your annual household living needs.

While returns, taxes, and inflation can, of course, affect your timeline, cash-flowing real-estate is a clear asset.”

Homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you’re contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home, bringing you one step closer to true financial independence.

Bottom Line

If you want to increase your savings and overall net worth, real estate is a great way to go. To learn how you can make it happen, let’s get together to discuss the process.

Who is Brent Sutherland?

Sutherland was 35 when he bought his first single home to rent out for income, less than five years later, he owns eight additional properties and part of a commercial real estate project.

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This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor

This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor | Simplifying The Market

Some are afraid the real estate market may be looking a lot like it did prior to the housing crash in 2008. One of the factors they’re pointing at is the availability of mortgage money.

Recent articles about the availability of low-down payment loans and down payment assistance programs are causing concern that we’re returning to the bad habits of a decade ago. Let’s alleviate the fears about the current mortgage market.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases an index several times a year titled: The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is…a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”

Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. The higher the index, the more available the mortgage credit.

Here is a graph of the MCAI dating back to 2004, when the data first became available:This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor | Simplifying The Market As we can see, the index stood at about 400 in 2004. Mortgage credit became more available as the housing market heated up, and then the index passed 850 in 2006. When the real estate market crashed, so did the MCAI (to below 100), as mortgage money became almost impossible to secure.

Thankfully, lending standards have eased since. The index, however, is still below 200, which is half of what it was before things got out of control.

Bottom Line

It is easier to get a mortgage today than it was immediately after the market crash, but it is still difficult. The difference in 2006? At that time, it was difficult not to get a mortgage.

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Buyer Demand Growing in Every Region

Buyer Demand Growing in Every Region | Simplifying The Market

Buyers are out in full force this fall, increasing the demand for homebuying in all four regions of the country.

According to the latest ShowingTime Showing Index,

“Home showing activity was up again nationwide with a 4.6 percent rise in traffic, as the traditionally slow fall season began with a marked boost in buyer interest.”

Buyers clearly have the right idea, as mortgage rates have dropped over a full percentage point since the fall of 2018. They’ve hovered in a historically low range since this summer, making the overall cost of homeownership significantly more attractive and affordable.

Here’s the breakdown of how ShowingTime reports current buyer traffic patterns across the country:

“The West Region, which until August had experienced 18 consecutive months of flagging home buyer traffic, lead the four regions in year-over-year improvement with an 8.9 percent increase in buyer activity.

The South followed with a 6.4 percent increase, the largest such improvement in the region since April 2018, with the Northeast Region’s 5.6 percent increase the next largest among the four regions.

The Midwest’s more modest 0.8 percent year-over-year growth rounded out the nation’s promising month.”

Buyer Demand Growing in Every Region | Simplifying The MarketWith ShowingTime reporting “nationwide growth for the second consecutive month, a first since December 2017 – January 2018”, it’s one more reason why selling your house this winter is the way to go. List while buyers are on the market, before competition with other sellers pops up in your neighborhood.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of waiting until spring to sell, think again! Let’s get together to discuss listing your house now while buyer traffic is actively surging throughout the country.

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75 Years of VA Home Loan Benefits

75 Years of VA Home Loan Benefits | Simplifying The Market

Today, on Veterans Day, we salute those who have served our country in war or peace, and we thank them for their sacrifice.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of VA Home Loan Benefit offerings through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill. Since 1944, this law has created opportunities for those who have served our country, ranging from vocational training to home loans.

Facts About VA Home Loans:

  • Nearly 24 million home loans have been guaranteed by the Veterans Administration.
  • Nearly 82% of VA home loans are made with no down payment.
  • The VA also provides grants to help seriously disabled Veterans purchase, modify, or construct a home to meet their needs. Last year the VA provided 2,000 grants totaling $104 million.

Benefits of a VA Home Loan:

  1. No down payment
  2. No Private Mortgage Insurance*
  3. Lower credit score requirements
  4. Limitation on closing costs
  5. Lower average interest rates

*More information on VA Home Loan Fees

 Bottom Line

The best thing you can do today to celebrate Veterans Day is to share this information with those who can benefit from these opportunities. For more information, or to find out how to qualify to use a VA Home Loan Benefit, let’s get together to navigate through the process. Thank you for your service!

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Millennials: Here’s Why the Process is Well Worth It.

Millennials: Here’s Why the Process is Well Worth It. | Simplifying The Market

Millennials have waited longer than any other generation to become homeowners, but the wait for this cohort is just about over.

According to National Mortgage News,

 “Millennials, those young adults now aged 23 to 38, are now entering their peak household formation and homebuying years.

If you’re a Millennial, you’re already well aware that you’re among a generation of those who favor fast-paced, real-time answers – and results. When you’re ready to make a decision, it’s go-time, and you probably want the latest technology at your fingertips to make it happen.

National Mortgage News agrees, stating,

“Millennials are different than previous generations—not only in their delayed homebuying but also in how they approach interactions with financial institutions, including mortgage lenders. Taking a picture of a check on their phone and depositing it without visiting a branch is not novel, it’s the way Millennials learned to do banking. They expect real-time access to account and transaction data and are frustrated when it’s not available.”

Here’s the catch – the overall speed of the homebuying process can take some time, and it might feel like it is slowing you down. When you’re ready to buy, you can make an offer and go under contract quickly, but the rest of the process might take a little longer. The same article explains why:

“When Millennials apply for a loan, the mortgage lender must qualify the borrower and determine who owns the property, how much the property is worth, and the property’s risk profile. Traditionally, this has been one of the most time-consuming and fragmented parts of the mortgage process…There are many moving pieces, each data point being sourced from a different provider, which can ultimately lead to a lengthy or delayed process.

 What has historically been accepted as the process norm does not align with the expectations of the most prominent generation in the home buying market today. Millennials have come to expect rapid, digital workflows in their daily purchase decisions, and in their mind, the home buying process shouldn’t be any different.”

So, where do you go from here?

 If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, that will help speed things up. But the steps it takes and the time to finalize a loan with most traditional lenders may feel like an eternity to you and your generational peers. Don’t worry, though – it’s well worth the wait when you finally get the keys to your new castle!

The financial benefits of homeownership, like increasing your net worth by building equity, and the non-financial benefits, like being able to customize and improve your space, will ultimately set you on the course to happiness, success, overall satisfaction, and much, much more.

Bottom Line

If you’re feeling like it’s go-time, let’s get together and get the process moving to determine if homeownership is your next best step.

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Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options.

Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options. | Simplifying The Market

When you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to determine if you prefer the charm of an existing home or the look and feel of a newer build. With limited existing home inventory available today, especially in the starter and middle-level markets, many buyers are considering a new home that’s recently been constructed, or they’re building the home of their dreams.

According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB),

“The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months.”

This is great news for homebuyers because it means there is additional inventory coming to the market, giving buyers more choices. The most recent data from NAHB shows,

“The inventory of new homes for sale was 321,000 in September, representing a 5.5 months’ supply. The median sales price was $299,400. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $328,300.”

Another added bonus is that builders are very aware of buyer demand in this segment, so they’re now building in a price range where there are more interested buyers ($299,400 instead of $328,300). With a reduced sales price and low-interest rates, today’s buyers have strong purchasing power.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may want to consider a new build to meet your family’s needs. Let’s get together to discuss the process and review what’s available in our area.

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