According to a recent Harris Poll survey, 8 in 10 Americans say buying a home is a priority, and 28 million Americans actually plan to buy within the next 12 months. Homeownership provides many financial and nonfinancial benefits, so that interest is understandable.
However, it’s unlikely all 28 million Americans will accomplish that goal in the coming year. Experts project a total of around five million homes will be sold in 2023. Why is there such a big difference? It’s partly because there can be challenges to buying a home.
In the same survey, when asked, “Which of the following are preventing you from pursuing homeownership at this time?”:
Save for Your Down Payment
Your down payment is a big chunk of what you pay up front for your home. For most home purchases, buyers put down some amount of cash up front (a down payment) and then take out a loan (a mortgage) to pay for the rest.
It’s a longstanding myth that you need to pay 20% of the purchase price for your down payment. In reality, 20% down isn’t always required. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today’s median down payment is 14% for the average buyer and just 6% for a first-time buyer.
Regardless of how much money you can save for your down payment, know there’s help available. A local lender can show you options to help you get closer to your down payment goal. Plus, there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5% for some buyers, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.
Beyond assistance programs and different loan types, here are a few other tips to help you as you save for your down payment:
Your credit score is a number that indicates how financially reliable you are to lenders. A higher credit score usually means you’ll be able to borrow more money at a better interest rate. If your credit score is preventing you from getting an affordable mortgage, there are steps you can take to improve it. Here are two:
If you want to purchase a home this year, contact a trusted real estate advisor so you can to build your team of professionals and start preparing.
*We've got lenders and attorneys ready to help!
Thanks KCM for this great article!
Before you buy a home, it’s important to plan ahead. While most buyers consider how much they need to save for a down payment, many are surprised by the closing costs they have to pay. To ensure you aren’t caught off guard when it’s time to close on your home, you need to understand what closing costs are and how much you should budget for!
What Are Closing Costs?
People are sometimes surprised by closing costs because they don’t know what they are. According to Bankrate:
“Closing costs are the fees and expenses you must pay before becoming the legal owner of a house, condo or townhome . . . Closing costs vary depending on the purchase price of the home and how it’s being financed . . .”
In other words, your closing costs are a collection of fees and payments involved with your transaction. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:
Understanding what closing costs include is important, but knowing what you’ll need to budget to cover them is critical, too. According to the Freddie Mac article mentioned above, the costs to close are typically between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of your home. With that in mind, here’s how you can get an idea of what you’ll need to cover your closing costs.
Let’s say you find a home you want to purchase for the median price of $366,900. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,500 and $18,500.
Keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above or below this price range, your closing costs will be higher or lower.
What’s the Best Way To Make Sure You’re Prepared at Closing Time?
Freddie Mac provides great advice for homebuyers, saying:
“As you start your homebuying journey, take the time to get a sense of all costs involved – from your down payment to closing costs.”
**Work with a team of trusted real estate professionals to understand exactly how much you’ll need to budget for closing costs. An agent can help connect you with a lender, and together your expert team can answer any questions you might have.
Reach out to us with questions - call Missy and Ruth. :)
It’s important to plan for the fees and payments you’ll be responsible for at closing. Let’s connect so I can help you feel confident throughout the process.
Thanks to Simplifying the Market!
The biggest challenge in the housing market right now, and likely for years to come, is how few homes there are for sale compared to the number of people who want to buy. That’s why, if you’re thinking about selling your house, this is a great time to do so. Your house would be welcome in a market that has fewer homes for sale than it did in the years leading up to the pandemic.
According to the latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report from realtor.com:
“There were 65.5% more homes for sale in January compared to the same time in 2022. This means that there were 248,000 more homes available to buy this past month compared to one year ago. While the number of homes for sale is increasing, it is still 43.2% lower than it was before the pandemic in 2017 to 2019. This means that there are still fewer homes available to buy on a typical day than there were a few years ago.”
What Does This Mean for You? Fewer homes for sale means buyers have fewer choices than they did prior to the pandemic—and that frustration is leading some to give up on the homebuying process altogether. But with mortgage rates sitting lower than they were at the peak last fall, more buyers are willing to come back into the process—they just need to find homes to buy. This is welcome activity for the spring market, especially if you’re thinking of selling your house.
With a renewed interest in buying a home for many, the New York Times (NYT) reports:
“Home buyers are edging back into the market after being sidelined last year . . .”
So, if you want to take advantage of a sweet spot in the market, this spring could be your shot.
Bottom Line: The housing market needs more homes for sale to meet the demand of today’s buyers. If you’ve thought about selling, now’s the time to connect with a local expert and get ready to make a move this spring.
The graph at the below shows how today’s inventory of homes for sale compares to recent years:
Thanks, KCM for the great article!
Kitchen Remodeling Guide
Remodeling your kitchen is one of the wisest home upgrades, considering the financial return on your investment and the livability factor. As a space that is typically the hub of the home and gets the most use, having a kitchen that functions as efficiently as possible and aligns with your aesthetic results in a space that you will crave spending time in. If you have a kitchen remodel in your short-term plans, use this kitchen remodeling guide to know what to expect.
Spend the Most Time Planning
Planning, and even over planning, every detail will result in a space that achieves your must-have list of features and design elements and will be the best way to stay within budget. Every change you make during a renovation requires a change order, which is a subsequent fee and will cause the overall costs to rise very quickly.
Factors to Consider During Planning
Knowing the materials you want to include in the project will enable your builder or contractor to give you the most accurate estimate. This will ensure your project stays on budget and allow the most time for items on backorder to arrive when it’s time for the installation.
Plan for Going Over Budget and Past the Timeline
No matter how meticulously planned the kitchen is, you may slightly exceed your budget. To avoid any surprises, plan for overage costs of approximately 20%. Additionally, your project will likely extend past the promised completion date. If you are determined to be in the home before the holidays, plan on starting the project several months earlier than you originally intended.
Don’t Skimp on Storage
When in doubt, add more storage instead of more space. Taking the cabinets to the ceiling will offer more storage throughout the kitchen, and customizing the cabinets and drawers to maximize storage solutions will ensure you take advantage of every square inch.
Your builder or contractor should be proactively communicating with you during your renovation, but if they aren’t, stay on top of regular communication. Check in on the project daily, maintain regular email or texting updates and communicate any concerns before they evolve into more significant issues.
Looking for reliable contractors? Reach out to us! 508-207-2501 or 508-726-0622
Source: RIS Media
I am a 20 year educator turned realtor! I love my family, my animals and of course real estate!