Category Archives: Real Estate

Why Growing Home Equity Is Great News if You Plan To Move [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why Growing Home Equity Is Great News if You Plan To Move [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Why Growing Home Equity Is Great News if You Plan To Move [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $64,000 in home equity over the past 12 months.
  • That much equity can be a game-changer when you move. When you sell, it could be some (if not all) of what you need for a down payment on your next home.
  • To find out how much equity you have in your home and how you can use it, let’s connect today.

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What Does an Economic Slowdown Mean for the Housing Market?

What Does an Economic Slowdown Mean for the Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

According to a recent survey, more and more Americans are concerned about a possible recession. Those concerns were validated when the Federal Reserve met and confirmed they were strongly committed to bringing down inflation. And, in order to do so, they’d use their tools and influence to slow down the economy.

All of this brings up many fears and questions around how it might affect our lives, our jobs, and business overall. And one concern many Americans have is: how will this affect the housing market? We know how economic slowdowns have impacted home prices in the past, but how could this next slowdown affect real estate and the cost of financing a home?

According to Mortgage Specialists: 

Throughout history, during a recessionary period, interest rates go up at the beginning of the recession. But in order to come out of a recession, interest rates are lowered to stimulate the economy moving forward.”

Here’s the data to back that up. If you look back at each recession going all the way to the early 1980s, here’s what happened to mortgage rates during those times (see chart below):

What Does an Economic Slowdown Mean for the Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

As the chart shows, historically, each time the economy slowed down, mortgage rates decreased. Fortune.com helps explain the trend like this:

“Over the past five recessions, mortgage rates have fallen an average of 1.8 percentage points from the peak seen during the recession to the trough. And in many cases, they continued to fall after the fact as it takes some time to turn things around even when the recession is technically over.”

And while history doesn’t always repeat itself, we can learn from it. While an economic slowdown needs to happen to help taper inflation, it hasn’t always been a bad thing for the housing market. Typically, it has meant that the cost to finance a home has gone down, and that’s a good thing. 

Bottom Line

Concerns of a recession are rising. As the economy slows down, history tells us this would likely mean lower mortgage rates for those looking to refinance or buy a home. While no one knows exactly what the future holds, you can make the right decision for you by working with a trusted real estate professional to get expert advice on what’s happening in the housing market and what that means for your homeownership goals.

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How Your Equity Can Grow over Time

How Your Equity Can Grow over Time | Simplifying The Market

It’s true that record levels of home price appreciation have spurred significant equity gains for homeowners over the past few years. As Diana Olick, Real Estate Correspondent at CNBC, says:

“The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth.”

That’s great for your home’s value over the last couple of years, but what if you’ve lived in your home for longer than that? You may be wondering how much equity you truly have.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has done a study to calculate the typical equity gains over longer spans of time. The data they compiled could be enough to motivate you to move. Just remember, to find out how much equity you have in your specific home, you’ll want to get a professional equity assessment from a trusted real estate advisor.

How Your Equity Grows

Let’s start by establishing how you build equity in your home. While price appreciation is clearly a factor that can help boost your equity, you also build equity over time as you pay down your home loan. NAR explains:

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

Average Equity Growth over Time

The study from NAR breaks down the typical equity gain over time (see graph below). It calculates the equity a homeowner potentially gained if they purchased the median-priced home 5, 10, or 30 years ago and still own it today.

How Your Equity Can Grow over Time | Simplifying The Market

These six-figure numbers are impressive and certainly enough to help you fuel a move into your next home, but they’re not a promised amount. Remember, your own equity gain will be different. It depends on how long you’ve been in the house, your home’s condition, any upgrades you’ve made, your area, and much more.

If you want to find out how much equity you have, partner with a trusted real estate professional for an equity assessment on your home. They can provide an expert opinion on what your house is worth today and how the equity you’ve gained over time can help you when you purchase your next home. It may be some (if not all) of what you need for your next down payment.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house and making a move, home equity can be a real game-changer, especially if you’ve been in your current home for a while. If you’re ready to find out how much equity you have, let’s connect.

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Is Homeownership Still the American Dream?

Is Homeownership Still the American Dream? | Simplifying The Market

Defining the American dream is personal, and no one individual will have the same definition as another. But the feelings it brings about – success, freedom, and a sense of prosperity – are universal. That’s why, for many people, homeownership remains a key part of the American dream. Your home is your stake in the community, a strong financial investment, and an achievement to be proud of.

A recent survey from Bankrate asked respondents to rank achievements as indicators of financial success, and the responses prove that owning a home is still important to so many Americans today (see graph below):

Is Homeownership Still the American Dream? | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, homeownership ranks above other significant milestones, including retirement, having a successful career, and earning a college degree.

That could be because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool and provides meaningful financial stability. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Homeownership builds financial security. With 65.5% of Americans owning homes, the net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times the net worth of a non-owner.”

There are other ways your home acts as more than just a roof over your head, too. The Mortgage Reports highlights a few of the many benefits homeowners enjoy, including:

Plus, homeowners tend to be more active in their community. Like NAR says:

“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates and [sic] obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”

What Does That Mean for You?

If your definition of the American Dream involves greater freedom and prosperity, then homeownership could play a major role in helping you achieve that dream. When you set out to buy, know there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. You’ll have a place you can call your own, feel most comfortable, and grow your wealth.

First American puts it best, saying:

Homeownership remains central to the pursuit of the American Dream. It is a critical driver of economic mobility, delivering financial and social advantages. . . .”

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a powerful decision and a key part of the American Dream. And if homeownership is part of your personal dreams this year, let’s connect and start the process today.

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Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Based on a recent Gallup poll, real estate has been rated the best long-term investment for nine years in a row.
  • Owning real estate is more than just a place to call home. It’s also an investment in your future. That’s because it’s typically a stable and secure asset that can grow in value over time.
  • If you’re ready to buy a home and invest in your future, let’s connect.

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If You’re Selling Your House This Summer, Hiring a Pro Is Critical

If You’re Selling Your House This Summer, Hiring a Pro Is Critical | Simplifying The Market

It can be tempting, especially with how hot the housing market has been over the past two years, to consider selling your home on your own. But 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, rising home prices, and a growing number of homes for sale, today’s housing market is showing signs of a shift back toward more pre-pandemic levels. When conditions change, following the trends and staying on top of new information is crucial when you sell.

That makes working with an expert real estate advisor critical today. 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 paperwork 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

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these 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 over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. 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, let’s connect so you have an expert on your side.

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Homeownership Could Be in Reach with Down Payment Assistance Programs

Homeownership Could Be in Reach with Down Payment Assistance Programs | Simplifying The Market

A recent survey from Bankrate asks prospective buyers to identify the biggest obstacles in their homebuying journey. It found that 36% of those polled said saving for a down payment is one of their primary hurdles to buying a home.

If you feel the same way, the good news is there are many down payment assistance programs available that can help you achieve your homeownership goals. The key is understanding where to look and learning what options are available. Here’s some information that can help you.

You Can Qualify Even if You’ve Purchased a Home Before

There are several misconceptions about down payment assistance programs. For starters, many people believe there’s only assistance available for first-time homebuyers. While first-time buyers have many options to explore, repeat buyers have some, too. According to the latest Homeownership Program Index from downpaymentresource.com:

“It is a common misconception that homebuyer assistance is only available to first-time homebuyers, however, 38% of homebuyer assistance programs in Q1 2022 did not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.

That means repeat buyers could qualify for over one-third of the assistance programs available. And if you’re a repeat buyer, you may still be able to take advantage of some first-time homebuyer programs, depending on your personal situation. That’s because downpaymentresource.com also notes many of the first-time homebuyer programs use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of a first-time homebuyer. Under their definition, you could qualify as a first-time buyer if you’re:

  • Someone who hasn’t owned a primary residence in 3 years.
  • A single parent who’s only ever owned a home with a former spouse.

That means no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, there could be an option available for you.

You May Be Eligible for Programs Based on Your Location or Profession

In addition to broader options available for repeat and first-time homebuyers, there are other types of down payment assistance programs that you could qualify for based on your location. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”

Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.

Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Bottom Line

Down payment assistance programs have helped many homebuyers achieve their dreams, and if you qualify, they could help you too. Let’s connect today so you can begin exploring your options.

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A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers

A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the housing market has delivered a fair share of challenges to homebuyers over the past two years. Two of the biggest hurdles homebuyers faced during the pandemic were the limited number of homes for sale and the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But those two things have reached a turning point.

As you may have already heard, the number of homes for sale has increased this year, and even more so this spring. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains:

New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up 6% above one year ago. Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options.”

This is encouraging news. More homes coming onto the market give you a greater chance of finding one that checks all your boxes.

Buyer Competition Moderating Helps Inventory Grow Even More

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says inventory growth is happening not just because there’s an increase in the number of listings coming onto the market, but also because buyer demand has moderated some in light of higher mortgage rates and other economic factors:

There has been a pickup in the inventory that we’ve seen recently, but it’s not from a big increase in new listings . . . but rather a slowdown in the pace of sales. And remember that months’ supply measures the inventory of sale relative to the pace of sales. Same inventory, fewer sales, means more months’ supply.”

Basically, the market is shifting away from the frenzy of buyer competition seen during the pandemic, and that’s helping available inventory grow. In their latest forecast, realtor.com also mentions the moderation of demand as a key factor and projects the inventory growth should continue:

As rising inflation and mortgage rates bring U.S. housing demand back from the 2021 frenzy, . . . inventory will grow double-digits over 2021 and offer buyers a better-than-expected chance to find a home.”

How This Impacts You

The combination of more homes coming onto the market and a slower pace of home sales means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home. That’s great news if you’ve been searching for a while with little to no luck. Just remember, there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory, just more homes to choose from than even a few months ago. So, you’ll still want to be decisive and move fast when you find the right home for you.

And when you do, you may be faced with less competition from other buyers too. If you’ve been waiting to jump into the market because the intensity of the bidding wars was intimidating or if you’ve been outbid on several homes, this moderation could help make the homebuying process a bit smoother. It’s not that it’ll be easy or that bidding wars are a thing of the past – that’s not the case. But it won’t feel nearly as impossible.

Bottom Line

As the housing market begins its shift back toward pre-pandemic levels, you could have a unique opportunity in front of you. With moderating levels of buyer competition and more homes actively for sale, your home search may have gotten a bit less challenging. Let’s connect to begin the process today.

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Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble | Simplifying The Market

You may be reading headlines and hearing talk about a potential housing bubble or a crash, but it’s important to understand that the data and expert opinions tell a different story. A recent survey from Pulsenomics asked over one hundred housing market experts and real estate economists if they believe the housing market is in a bubble. The results indicate most experts don’t think that’s the case (see graph below):

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble | Simplifying The MarketAs the graph shows, a strong majority (60%) said the real estate market is not currently in a bubble. In the same survey, experts give the following reasons why this isn’t like 2008:

  • The recent growth in home prices is because of demographics and low inventory
  • Credit risks are low because underwriting and lending standards are sound

If you’re concerned a crash may be coming, here’s a deep dive into those two key factors that should help ease your concerns.

1. Low Housing Inventory Is Causing Home Prices To Rise

The supply of homes available for sale needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

As the graph below shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s still a shortage of inventory, which is causing ongoing home price appreciation (see graph below):

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble | Simplifying The MarketInventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a limited supply of homes for sale. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“The fundamentals driving house price growth in the U.S. remain intact. . . . The demand for homes continues to exceed the supply of homes for sale, which is keeping house price growth high.”

2. Mortgage Lending Standards Today Are Nothing Like the Last Time

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the years after:

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble | Simplifying The MarketThis graph helps show one element of why mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers who acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified than they were in the years leading up to the crash. Realtor.com notes:

. . . Lenders are giving mortgages only to the most qualified borrowers. These buyers are less likely to wind up in foreclosure.”

Bottom Line

A majority of experts agree we’re not in a housing bubble. That’s because home price growth is backed by strong housing market fundamentals and lending standards are much tighter today. If you have questions, let’s connect to discuss why today’s housing market is nothing like 2008.

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