Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

July 17, 2024

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

After applying for a mortgage, it's important to maintain financial stability and avoid actions that could jeopardize your approval.

 

Here are key things to avoid:

1. Large Purchases: Avoid making significant purchases, especially on credit. This can increase your debt-to-income ratio and affect your credit score.

 

2. Changing Jobs: Stability in employment is crucial. Changing jobs can raise concerns about your income stability.

 

3. New Credit Accounts: Refrain from opening new credit accounts. Each application can result in a hard inquiry on your credit report, potentially lowering your score.

 

4. Missing Payments: Ensure all bills, including credit cards and loans, are paid on time. Late payments can negatively impact your credit score.

 

5. Large Deposits: Avoid making large, unexplained deposits into your bank accounts. Lenders will scrutinize your finances, and unexplained funds can raise red flags.

 

6. Reducing Assets: Don't drain your savings or investment accounts. Lenders look at your assets as a sign of financial health and security.

 

7. Co-signing Loans: Avoid co-signing for others. This increases your financial obligations and can affect your debt-to-income ratio.

 

8. Changing Your Spending Habits: Maintain consistent spending habits to ensure your financial profile remains stable.

 

9. Ignoring Lender Requests: Respond promptly to any requests from your lender for additional information or documentation.

 

10. Switching Banks: Avoid switching banks or transferring large sums of money between accounts, which can complicate the verification process.

 

By maintaining financial stability and avoiding these actions, you'll increase your chances of a smooth mortgage approval process.

Posted in Mortgage
July 16, 2024

Homeowners Gained $28K in Equity over the Past Year

If you own a home, your net worth has probably gone up a lot over the past year. Home prices have been rising, which means you're building equity much faster than you might think. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Over the past year, there have still been more people wanting to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that’s pushed prices up. That rise in prices has translated directly into increasing equity for homeowners.

 

How Much Equity Have You Earned over the Past 12 Months?

According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner's equity has grown by $28,000 in the last year alone.

That's the national average, so if you want to see what's happening in your state, check out the map below. It uses data from CoreLogic to show how much equity has grown in each state over the past year. You’ll notice every single state with sufficient data saw annual equity gains:

What If You Bought Your House Before the Pandemic?

If you bought your house before the pandemic, the equity news is even better. According to data from Realtor.com, home prices shot up by 37.5% from May 2019 to May 2024, meaning your home's value has likely increased significantly. Ralph McLaughlin, Senior Economist at Realtor.com, says:

“Homeowners have seen extraordinary gains in home equity over the past five years.”

To give context to how much equity can stack up over time, Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains the total equity the typical homeowner has today:

“With home prices continuing to reach new highs, owners are also seeing their equity approach the historic peaks of 2023, close to a total of $305,000 per owner.”

How Your Rising Home Equity Can Help You

With how prices skyrocketed a few years ago, and the ongoing price growth today, homeowners clearly have substantial equity built up – and that has some serious benefits.

You could use it to start a business, fund an education, or even to help you afford your next home. When you sell, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you, and may be enough to cover a big part – or even all – of your next home’s down payment.

 

 

Bottom Line

If you're planning to move, the equity you've gained can really help. Curious about how much you have and how you can use it to help pay for your next home? Let's connect.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Home Equity
July 12, 2024

The Cost of Perfection: Don't Delay for the Ideal Home

In life, patience is a virtue – but in the world of homebuying, waiting too long in hopes of finding the perfect home actually isn't wise. That’s because the pursuit of perfection comes at a cost. And in this case, that cost may be delaying your dream of homeownership. As Bankrate explains:

“One of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes is looking for a home that checks each of your boxes. Looking for perfection can narrow your choices and lead you to pass over good, suitable options for starter homes in the hopes that something better will come along.”

The Cost of Holding Out for Perfection

Nothing in life is ever perfect – and that's true when you search for a home too. Unless you’re building a brand-new home from the ground up, chances are there are going to be some features or finishes you wouldn’t have picked yourself. It may be as simple as paint colors, a light fixture, or the tile in the bathrooms or kitchen. Or even that the backyard isn’t fenced in. It could also be that the home itself is great, but it’s not the ideal location you were hoping for.

But here’s the trade-off you'd be making without even realizing it. In all that time you’d spend searching for the perfect place, you’d overlook a lot of homes that would’ve worked for you. U.S. News explains:

“. . . you may miss opportunities if you enter the process with blinders on and aren’t open-minded . . . Countless potential buyers never buy because of this, and thus miss great investments or never move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

It’s Time To Redefine Perfection

Especially with affordability and inventory where they are today, buying a home that needs some updates, is a few neighborhoods away from your ideal location, or doesn’t have all your desired features can be a smart move. Here’s why.

For starters, these homes are usually more affordable, which is important at a time when some buyers are struggling to find options in their budget.

And they give you a chance to make the space your own or discover a whole new area of town. You may find out you actually love that neighborhood. Or, swapping out a feature here or there after move-in isn’t such a big deal. So, look past the green shag carpet and see the bones of the house. With a little vision and creativity, you can turn a good house into a fantastic home.

How an Agent Helps You Explore Your Options

If you’re open to a home that needs a little elbow grease or is a bit further out, let your agent know. They’ll be happy to show you how this can really open up your pool of homes to pick from. They’ll also help coach you through this process by:

1. Prioritizing Your Must-Haves: Your agent will want to revisit your wish list and separate your non-negotiables from your nice-to-haves. From there, they’ll focus on what’s really most important to you as they come up with a bigger list of options for you to choose from.

2. Coaching You To See the Potential: As you tour these added options, your agent will help you look beyond cosmetic flaws and imagine what the home could be with a little work. Simple updates like a fresh coat of paint or new flooring can make a big difference.

3. Connecting You with Local Pros: And an agent’s support goes one step further. If they know what you’re hoping to change after you move in, they can connect you with local pros who can get the job done. That way it’s less work for you, and you don’t have to worry about tracking down contractors.

Bottom Line

Remember, there is no perfect home. But with expert help and an open mind, we can find you the right home – even in today’s market. Let’s connect to see what’s out there.

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Home Buying
July 8, 2024

Focus on Time in the Market, Not Timing the Market

Should you buy a home now or should you wait? That’s a big question on many people’s minds today. And while what timing is right for you will depend on a lot of other personal factors, here’s something you may not have considered.

If you’re able to buy at today’s rates and prices, it may be better to focus on time in the market, rather than timing the market.

The Downside of Trying To Time the Market

Trying to time the market isn’t a good strategy because things can change. Here’s an example. For the better part of this year, projections have said mortgage rates will come down. And while experts agree that’s still what’s ahead, shifts in various market and economic factors have pushed back the timing of when that’ll happen. Here’s how that’s impacted homebuyers who’ve been sitting on the sidelines. As U.S. News says:

“Those who put off buying a home during the past few years as they were holding out for lower mortgage rates have been left out of the market . . . mortgage rates have stayed higher for longer than previously expected, keeping monthly housing payments elevated. In other words, affordability didn't improve for those who chose to wait.”

This is why timing the market may not pay off if you’re ready and able to buy now.

The Proof Is in the Pudding: How Homeowners Benefit from Rising Home Prices

Delaying your plans also means missing out on the equity you’d gain if you went ahead with your purchase today. And the potential equity gains that are at stake may surprise you.

Each quarter, Fannie Mae releases the Home Price Expectations Survey. It asks over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists what they forecast for home prices over the next five years. In the latest release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise through at least 2028 (see the graph below):

To give these numbers context, let’s take a look at a breakdown of what you stand to gain once you buy. The graph below uses a typical home’s value to show how a home could appreciate over the next few years using those HPES projections:

In this example, let’s say you went ahead and bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. Based on the expert forecasts from the HPES, you could gain more than $83,000 in household wealth over the next five years. That’s not a small number.

This data helps paint the picture of why time in the market really matters.

 

The Advice You Need To Hear If You’re Ready and Able To Buy Now

Right now, you may be focused on what’s happening with mortgage rates and how those impact your monthly payment, but don’t forget to factor in home prices.

Prices are expected to continue climbing, just at a more moderate pace. And while a moderate rise in prices may not be fun for you now, once you own a home, that growth will be a huge perk. That’s the time in the market piece.

Sure, you could try timing the market, but the equity you’ll be missing out on in the meantime is something to seriously consider. If you’re ready and able to buy now, you have to decide: is it really worth waiting?

Rather than focusing on timing the market. It’s better to have time in the market.

 

As U.S. News Real Estate sums up:

“There's never a one-size-fits-all answer to whether now is the right time to buy a home. . . . There's also no way to predict precisely what the market will do in the near future . . . Perfectly timing the market shouldn't be the goal. This decision should be determined by your personal needs, financial means and the time you have to find the right home.”

 

Bottom Line

If you’re debating whether to buy now or wait, remember it’s time in the market, not timing the market. And if you want to get the ball rolling and set yourself up for those big equity gains, let’s connect to make it happen.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Housing Market
July 1, 2024

Housing Market Outlook: Predictions for the Second Half of 2024

As we move into the second half of 2024, here’s what experts say you should expect for home prices, mortgage rates, and home sales.
Home Prices Are Expected To Climb Moderately

Home prices are forecasted to rise at a more normal pace. The graph below shows the latest forecasts from seven of the most trusted sources in the industry:

Posted in Housing Market
June 27, 2024

How Long Will It Take To Sell My House?

You want your house to sell fast. And you may be wondering how long the whole process is going to take. One way to get your answer? Work with a local real estate agent.

They have the expertise to tell you how quickly homes are selling in your area and what’s impacting timelines for other sellers. That way you have realistic expectations and can work together to come up with a plan that’s based on today’s market.

Here’s a high-level overview of just one of the factors a great agent will walk you through – the supply of homes for sale and how that impacts your process.

The Growing Supply of Homes for Sale

Over the past few months, the number of homes for sale has increased. This is good news when you move because it means you’ll have more options as you search for your next home. But it also means buyers have more to choose from, so if your house doesn’t stand out – it may take a bit longer to sell.

The numbers below reflect the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Available inventory is made up of new listings (homes that were just put up for sale) and active listings (homes that were already on the market but haven’t sold yet). And if you look at Phoenix data below you can see a good portion of the recent growth is from active listings that are sticking around (see the orange bars in the graph below):

How It’s Impacting Listings Today

Think of the homes on the market like loaves of bread for sale in a bakery. When a fresh batch of bread is put out, everyone wants the newest and hottest one. But if a loaf sits there too long, it starts to get stale, and fewer people want to buy it.

The same goes for homes. New listings are the freshest and most sought-after. But if a home isn’t priced correctly, doesn’t show well, or it doesn’t have an effective sales or marketing strategy behind it, it can sit on the market and become less appealing to buyers over time.

Help Your House Stand Out and Sell Quickly

Timing is important to you. You want to get this done, fast. By leaning on a pro, they’ll make sure your listing is fresh and doesn’t stick around long enough to go stale. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“Home sellers without an agent are nearly twice as likely to say they didn’t accept an offer for at least three months; 53% of sellers who used an agent say they accepted an offer within a month of listing their home.”

Your agent will factor the recent inventory growth into their plan and create a customized selling strategy for your house. The supply of homes for sale can vary a lot by area. So they’ll do things like share their valuable insights into what’s happening with supply in your market, help you price your home correctly, and create a marketing plan that gets your home noticed.

Don’t let your listing get stale—reach out to a real estate agent today to make sure your listing is fresh and appeals to buyers from the start. It makes a big difference.

 

Bottom Line

If you want your house to sell fast, you need to work with a pro. Let’s connect so you’ve got someone who understands the current market trends and how to build a strategy around those factors, so your house is set up to sell quickly.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

 

 

Posted in Home Selling
June 27, 2024

Worried About Mortgage Rates? Control the Controllables

Chances are you’re hearing a lot about mortgage rates right now. You may even see some headlines talking about last week’s Federal Reserve (the Fed) meeting and what it means for rates. But the Fed doesn’t determine mortgage rates, even if the headlines make it sound like they do.

The truth is, mortgage rates are impacted by a lot of factors: geo-political uncertainty, inflation and the economy, and more. And trying to pin down when all those factors will line up enough for rates to come down is tricky.

That’s why it’s generally not worth it to try to time the market. There’s too much at play that you can’t control. The best thing you can do is control the controllables.

And when it comes to rates, here’s what you can influence to make your moving plans a reality.

 

Your Credit Score

Credit scores can play a big role in your mortgage rate. As an article from CNET explains:

“You can’t control the economic factors influencing interest rates. But you can get the best rate for your situation, and improving your credit score is the right place to start. Lenders look at your credit score to decide whether to approve you for a loan and at what interest rate. A higher credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate, maybe even better than the average.”

That’s why it’s even more important to maintain a good credit score right now. With rates where they are, you want to do what you can to get the best rate possible. If you want to focus on improving your score, your trusted loan officer can give you expert advice to help.

 

Your Loan Type

There are many types of loans, each offering different terms for qualified buyers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says:

“There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose.”

When working with your team of real estate professionals, make sure you find out what’s available for your situation and which types of loans you may qualify for.

 

Your Loan Term

Another factor to consider is the term of your loan. Just like with loan types, you have options. Freddie Mac says:

 

“When choosing the right home loan for you, it’s important to consider the loan term, which is the length of time it will take you to repay your loan before you fully own your home. Your loan term will affect your interest rate, monthly payment, and the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.”

Depending on your situation, the length of your loan can also change your mortgage rate.

 

Bottom Line

Remember, you can’t control what happens in the broader economy. But you can control the controllables.

Work with a trusted lender to go over the things you can do that’ll make a difference. By being strategic with these factors, you may be able to combat today’s higher rates and lock in the lowest one you can.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

mortgage rates, economy, housing market, inflation

You’re hearing a lot about mortgage rates right now. You may even see some headlines talking about last week’s Fed meeting and what it means for rates

Posted in Mortgage
June 11, 2024

Your Equity Could Make a Move Possible

 

Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Today’s mortgage rates are higher than the one they currently have on their home, and that’s making it harder to want to sell and make a move. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

But what if there was a way to offset these higher borrowing costs? There is. And the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

What Is Equity?

Think of equity as a simple math equation. Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . your home’s equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.”

Your equity grows as you pay down your loan over time and as home prices climb. And thanks to the rapid home price appreciation we saw in recent years, you probably have a whole lot more of it than you realize.

The latest from the Census and ATTOM shows more than two out of three homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):

That means the majority of homeowners have a game-changing amount of equity right now.

How Your Equity Can Help Fuel Your Move

After you sell your house, that equity can help you move without worrying as much about today’s mortgage rates. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com says:

“A consideration today's homeowners should review is what their home equity picture looks like. With the typical home listing price up 40% from just five years ago, many home sellers are sitting on a healthy equity cushion. This means they are likely to walk away from a home sale with proceeds that they can use to offset the amount of borrowing needed for their next home purchase.”

To give you some examples, here are a few ways you can use equity to buy your next home:

Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates.

Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much at today’s rates.

The First Step: Determine How Much Equity You Have in Your Home

Want to find out how much equity you have? To do that, you’ll need two things:

 

·       The current mortgage balance on your home

·       The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To understand the current market value of your house, you can pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate agent who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report (PEAR).

Once you’ve connected with a trusted local agent and run the numbers, you’re one step closer to making a move you may not have thought was realistic – all thanks to your equity.

 

Bottom Line

If you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, let’s connect.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

Posted in Home Equity
June 4, 2024

What can you expect if you Buy or Sell a Home in June

June tends to be a busy month in the housing market, with increased activity in buying and selling homes.

Here are some key points to keep in mind if you’re planning to Buy a home this June:

Increased Competition: Late spring into summer sees a surge in homebuyer activity. Families often prefer to move after the school year ends and before the next one begins. As a result, more buyers will be actively searching for homes during this time.

More Sellers Listing: The good news is that June is also when more sellers decide to list their homes. This means you’ll have a broader range of options to choose from. Keep an eye out for new listings hitting the market.

Having an experienced reliable real estate agent by your side is crucial during this bustling season. Here’s how they can assist you:

Stay Informed: Your agent will keep you updated on the latest listings, ensuring you don’t miss out on any opportunities. They’ll provide details on new homes hitting the market.

Expertise on Offers: In a competitive market, making a strong offer is essential. Your agent will guide you through the process, helping you craft an appealing offer that stands out.

Property Valuation: Understanding a home’s true value is vital. Your agent can provide insights into pricing, neighborhood trends, and comparable sales, allowing you to make an informed decision.

 

Here are some key points to keep in mind if you’re planning to Sell a home this June:

As a seller during this busy season, you’re in a favorable position. Here’s why:

Motivated Buyers: Many buyers aim to complete their move before the next school year begins. Their motivation often leads to strong offers.

Showcase Your Home: Ensure your house is well-presented. A clean, appealing home listed at market value is likely to attract attention.

Potential for Higher Price: With increased demand, you may see your home sell faster or even achieve a higher price.

 

Having a skilled real estate agent by your side is crucial during this process. Here’s how they can assist you:

Contingencies and Negotiations: Your agent will guide you through contingencies and negotiations, ensuring you make informed decisions and choose the best offer.

 

Closing Dates: Discuss closing dates with your agent. Some buyers may need to adjust their timing to align with the school year, so flexibility is essential.

If you’re considering a move this June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you.

Posted in Housing Market
May 28, 2024

How Many Homes Are Investors Actually Buying?

Are big investors really buying up all the homes today?

If you’re trying to find a house to buy, this may be something you’re wondering about. Maybe you’ve read about it or seen reels on social media saying investors buying all the homes is making it even harder to find what the average buyer is looking for. But spoiler alert – there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To clear things up, here's the scoop on what's really happening. A lot of the big investor activity is actually in the rearview mirror already.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) explains:

“Investors of all sizes spent billions of dollars buying homes during the pandemic. At the 2022 peak, they bought more than one in every four single-family homes sold, though more recently their activity has slowed as interest rates rose and supply became tighter.”

The key here is investor activity has slowed significantly, and even during the peak of investor buying, 3 out of every 4 single-family homes purchased were by regular, everyday buyers – not investors. And of the investors who bought over the past few years, most weren’t the big investors you may be hearing about. The vast majority were small mom-and-pop investors – people like your neighbors who own only a couple of homes, maybe even just their main residence and a vacation home.

 

But let’s focus on the giant, mega-investor firms since that's what is being talked about so frequently on social media right now. Mega investors are those who own 1,000+ properties. You may be surprised to see that, according to the Wall Street Journal, they don’t buy all that many homes (see graph below):

This graph tells us two things. First, institutional investors were never buying a large percentage of available homes. During the peak in 2022, they bought about 2% of available single-family homes. Second, that percentage has gotten even smaller recently (so small the number rounds down to 0%).

In an effort to understand why that percentage is trending down, private lender RCN Capital asked investors about the challenges they’re facing. Here’s what Jeffrey Tesch, CEO of RCN Capital, found out:

 

“Investors are already facing many challenges in today’s housing market – rising prices, limited inventory, and higher financing costs.”

Understanding these challenges is important because they show big, mega investors aren’t taking over the housing market.

 

So, don't fall for everything you hear. They aren't snatching up all the homes and making it impossible for regular people to buy.

Bottom Line

Big investors aren’t buying all the homes out there. If you've got questions about what you're hearing about the housing market, let's chat. I can help you understand what's really going on.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

 

Posted in Housing Market