If you’re looking to buy a home this fall, there are a few things you need to know. Affordability is tight with today’s mortgage rates and rising home prices. At the same time, there’s a limited number of homes on the market right now and that’s creating some competition among buyers. But, if you’re strategic, there are ways to navigate these waters. The first thing you’ll want to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way you’ll know your numbers and can set yourself up for success from the start of your home search.
What Pre-Approval Does for You
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the homebuying process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you know how much money you can borrow. Freddie Mac explains it like this:
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”
Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand how much you may be able to borrow. Why does this help you, especially today? With higher mortgage rates and home prices impacting affordability for many buyers right now, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important so you can truly wrap your head around your options.
Pre-Approval Helps Show Sellers You’re a Serious Buyer
Let’s face it, there are more buyers looking to buy than there are homes available for sale and that imbalance is creating some competition among homebuyers. That means you could see yourself in a multiple-offer scenario when you make an offer on a home. But getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you stand out from other hopeful buyers.
As an article from Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:
“If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”
Pre-approval shows the seller you’re a serious buyer that’s already undergone a credit and financial check, making it more likely that the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or financial issues.
Getting pre-approved is an important first step when you’re buying a home. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of getting the home you want. Connect with a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.
Buying and owning your own home can have a big impact on your life. While there are financial reasons to become a homeowner, it’s essential to think about the non-financial benefits that make a home more than just a place to live.
Here are some of the top non-financial reasons to buy a home.
According to Fannie Mae, 94% of survey respondents say “Having Control Over What You Do with Your Living Space” is a top reason to own.
Your home is truly your own space. If you own a home, unless there are specific homeowner association requirements, you can decorate and change it the way you like. That means you can make small changes or even do big renovations to make your home perfect for you. Your home is uniquely yours and by buying, you give yourself the freedom to tailor it to your individual style. Investopedia explains:
“One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world. You can customize your house, remodel, paint, and decorate without the need to get permission from a landlord.”
When you rent, you might not be able to make your place really feel like it’s yours. And if you do make any modifications, you might have to change them back before you leave. But if you own your home, you can make it just the way you want it. That level of customization can give you a sense of pride in where you live and make you feel more connected to it.
Fannie Mae also finds 90% say “Having a Good Place for Your Family To Raise Your Children” tops their list of why it’s better to buy a home.
Another important factor to think about is what stage of life you’re in. U.S. News breaks it down:
“For those with young children, buying a home and putting down roots is a major driver. . . . You don’t want the upheaval of a massive rent increase or a non-renewed lease to impact your sense of stability.”
No matter which of life’s milestones you’re in, stability and predictability are important. That’s because the one constant in life is that things will change. And, as life changes around you, having a familiar home and not worrying about moving regularly helps you and those who matter most feel more secure and more comfortable.
Lastly, Fannie Mae says 82% list “Feeling Engaged in Your Community” as another key motivator to own.
Owning your home also helps you feel even more connected to your neighborhood. People who own homes usually live in them for an average of nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As that time passes, it’s natural to make friends and build strong ties in the community. As Gary Acosta, CEO and Co-Founder at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), points out:
“Homeowners also tend to be more active in their local communities . . .”
When you care deeply about the people you live near, you’ll do what you can to contribute to your local area.
Owning your home can make your life better by giving you a sense of accomplishment, pride, stability, and connectedness. If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner and want to learn more, reach out to a local real estate agent today.
Are you a baby boomer who’s lived in your current house for a long time and you’re ready for a change? If you’re thinking about selling your house, you have a lot to consider. Will you move to a different state or stay nearby? Is it time to downsize or do you want more space to accommodate your loved ones? But maybe the biggest consideration boils down to this – will you buy your next home or choose to rent instead?
That decision ultimately depends on your current situation and your future plans. Here are two important factors to help you decide what’s right for you.
Expect Rents to Keep Going Up
The graph below uses data from the Census to show how rents have been climbing steadily since 1988:Rents have been going up consistently over the long run. If you choose to rent, there’s a risk your rental payment will go up each time you renew your lease. Having a higher rental expense may not be something you want to deal with every year.
When you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, it helps stabilize your monthly housing payment. This allows you to lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your home loan. That keeps your payments steady and predictable for the long haul. Freddie Mac sums it up like this:
“. . . homeowners with fixed-rate loans will see little to no change to their monthly housing cost over the life of their loan. You can be confident in knowing that your mortgage payments won’t change much in the long term, even when life’s other costs do.”
Owning Your Home Comes with Unique Benefits
According to AARP, buying your next home is a better long-term strategy than renting:
“Though each option has pros and cons, buying provides more pros, with a broader range of benefits.”
To help you choose what you’ll do after you sell, here are just a few of the benefits of homeownership that article covers:
- Owning your home can help you save money for the future. Your home, and the equity you build as a homeowner, can provide generational wealth that could be passed on to loved ones, giving them a better life.
- You might not have to pay a monthly mortgage payment at all. If you have enough equity to buy your next home outright, you wouldn’t have a monthly mortgage payment. While you might still need to cover property taxes or maintenance fees, not having to worry about a monthly mortgage payment could be a big relief.
- Aging in place can be simpler. If your needs change, owning your home gives you the freedom to make renovations and updates that can make everyday life easier.
If you’re a baby boomer who’s wondering whether you should buy or rent your next home, talk to a reliable real estate agent for advice. With rents going up and homeownership providing so many benefits, it may make sense to consider buying your next home.
If you’re planning to buy a home, one thing to consider is what experts project home prices will do in the future and how that might affect your investment. While you may have seen negative news over the past year about home prices, they’re doing far better than expected and are rising across the country. And data shows, experts forecast home prices will keep appreciating.
Experts Project Ongoing Appreciation
Pulsenomics polled over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts in the latest quarterly Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES). The results show what the panelists project will happen with home prices over the next five years. Here are those expert forecasts saying home prices will go up every year through 2027 (see graph below):If you’re someone who was worried home prices would fall because of stories you’ve read online, here’s the big takeaway. Even though home prices vary by local market, experts project prices will continue to rise across the country for years to come. And these numbers indicate the return to more normal home price appreciation.
And while the projected increase in 2024 isn’t as large as 2023, it’s important to recognize home price appreciation is cumulative. In other words, if these experts are correct, after your home’s value rises by 3.32% this year, it’ll appreciate by another 2.17% next year. This is a good example of why owning a home is a choice that wins big over time.
What Does This Mean for You?
Once you buy a home, price appreciation raises your home’s value, and that grows your household wealth. To see how a typical home’s value could change in the next few years using the expert projections from the HPES, check out the graph below:In this example, let’s say you bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. If you factor in the forecast from the HPES, you could potentially accumulate more than $71,000 in household wealth over the next five years.
So, if you’re thinking about whether buying a home is a good choice, remember how it can be a powerful way to grow your wealth in the long run.
According to the experts, home prices are expected to grow over the next five years at a more normal pace. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as home values (and your own net worth) grow. Connect with a local real estate agent to start the homebuying process today.
Have you been trying to buy a home, but higher mortgage rates and home prices are limiting your options? If so, here’s some good news – based on what Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, has to say – smaller, more affordable homes are on the way:
“Buyers should expect that over the next 12 to 24 months there will be a notable increase in the number of entry-level homes available.”
In some ways, smaller homes are already here. When the pandemic hit, the meaning of home changed. People needed the space their home provided not only as a place to live, but as a place to work, go to school, exercise, and more. Those who had that space were more likely to keep it. And those that didn’t were in a position where they were trying to sell their smaller house to move up to a larger one. That meant the homes coming to the market during the pandemic were smaller than those on the market before the pandemic – and that trend continues today (see graph below):This graph also shows how the size of homes on the market changes seasonally. Larger homes tend to come on the market during the summer months when households with children who are out of school are looking to move.
That seasonality means, based on historical trends and the fact that fall is now approaching, we can expect smaller, more affordable homes to come to the market throughout the rest of the year.
That’s great news because, as Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), states, the need for these types of homes has gone up recently:
“. . . as interest rates increased in 2022, and housing affordability worsened, the demand for home size has trended lower.”
What Does This Mean for You?
The seasonal trend of smaller homes coming to the market in the later months of the year, coupled with builders bringing smaller, more affordable newly built homes to the market right now, is good news – especially if you’re finding it difficult to afford a home. Mikaela Arroyo, Director of the New Home Trends Institute at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, says this about a potential increase in the availability of smaller homes:
“It’s not solving the affordability crisis, but it is creating opportunities for people to be able to afford an entry-level home in an area.”
If a smaller, more affordable home sounds appealing to you, good news – they’re coming. To keep up with what’s available in your area, connect with a local real estate agent