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Top 5 Reasons To Hire an Agent When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 5 Reasons To Hire an Agent When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • Hiring an agent when buying a home helps you understand the buying process and the local market.
  • They’ll also go over contracts and fine print with you, so you understand what you’re agreeing to. Plus, they’re good at negotiating, making sure you get the best deal.
  • Expert advice from a trusted real estate professional is priceless. Connect with a local agent today.
Is It Easier To Find a Home To Buy Now?

Is It Easier To Find a Home To Buy Now?

One of the biggest hurdles buyers have faced over the past few years has been a lack of homes available for sale. But that’s starting to change.

The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show there are more homes on the market in 2024 than there have been in any of the past several years (2021-2023):

a graph of a number of homes for sale

Does That Mean Finding a Home Is Easier?

The answer is yes, and no. As an article from Realtor.com says:

There were nearly 15% more homes for sale in February than a year earlier . . . That alone could jolt the housing market a bit if more “For Sale” signs continue to appear. However, the nation is still suffering from a housing shortage even with all of that new inventory.

Context is important. On the one hand, inventory is up over the past few years. That means you’ll likely have more options to choose from as you search for your next home.

But, at the same time, the graph above also shows there are still significantly fewer homes for sale than there would usually be in a more normal, pre-pandemic market. And that deficit isn’t going to be reversed overnight.

What Does This Mean for You?

You might find a few more choices now than in recent years, but you shouldn’t expect a ton of options.

To help you explore the growing list of choices you have now, team up with a local real estate agent you trust. They can really help you understand the inventory situation where you want to buy. That’s because real estate is local. An experienced agent can share some smart tips they’ve used to help other buyers in your area deal with ongoing low housing supply.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying a home, team up with a local real estate agent. That way, you’ll be up to date on everything that could affect your move, including how many homes are for sale right now.

Single Women Are Embracing Homeownership

Single Women Are Embracing Homeownership

In today’s housing market, more and more single women are becoming homeowners. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 19% of all homebuyers are single women, while only 10% are single men.

If you’re a single woman trying to buy your first home, this should be encouraging. It means other people are making their dreams a reality – so you can too.

Why Homeownership Matters to So Many Women

For many single women, buying a home isn’t just about having a place to live—it’s also a smart way to invest for the future. Homes usually increase in value over time, so they’re a great way to build equity and overall net worth. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First Americansays:

“. . . single women are increasingly pursuing homeownership and reaping its wealth creation benefits.”

The financial security and independence homeownership provides can be life-changing. And when you factor in the personal motivations behind buying a home, that impact becomes even clearer.

The same report from NAR shares the top reasons single women are buying a home right now, and the reality is, they’re not all financial (see chart below):

a blue and white diagram with white text

If any of these reasons resonate with you, maybe it’s time for you to buy too.

Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent

If you’re a single woman looking to buy a home, it is possible, even in today’s housing market. You’ll just want to be sure you have a great real estate agent by your side.

Talk about what your goals are and why homeownership is so important to you. That way your agent can keep what’s critical for you up front as they guide you through the buying process. They’ll help you find the right home for your needs and advocate for you during negotiations. Together, you can make your dream of homeownership a reality.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is life-changing no matter who you are. Connect with a local real estate agent to talk about your goals in the housing market.

What Every Homebuyer Should Know About Closing Costs

What Every Homebuyer Should Know About Closing Costs

Before making the decision to buy a home, it’s important to plan for all the costs you’ll be responsible for. While you’re busy saving for the down payment, don’t forget you’ll want to prep for closing costs too.

Here’s some helpful information on what those costs are and how much you should budget for them.

What Are Closing Costs?

A recent article from Bankrate explains:

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 . . .”

Simply put, your closing costs are the additional fees and payments you have to make at closing. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting Fees

How Much Are Closing Costs?

According to the same Freddie Mac article mentioned above, they’re 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 budget.

Let’s say you find a home you want to purchase at today’s median price of $384,500. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,690 and $19,225.

But 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.

Make Sure You’re Prepared To Close

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.”

The best way to do that is by partnering with a team of trusted real estate professionals. That gives you a group of experts to help you understand how much you’ll need to save and what you’ll want to be prepped for. It also means you have go-to resources for any questions that pop up along the way.

Bottom Line

Planning for the fees and payments you’ll need to cover when you’re closing on your home is important. Partnering with a local real estate professional can give you the guidance and confidence you need throughout the process.

Your Home Is a Powerful Investment

Your Home Is a Powerful Investment

Going into 2023, there was a lot of talk about a possible recession that would cause the housing market to crash. Some in the media were even forecasting home prices would drop by as much as 10-20%—and that might have made you feel a bit unsure about buying a home.

But here’s what actually happened: home prices went up more than usual. Brian D. Luke, Head of Commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indicesexplains:

“Looking back at the year, 2023 appears to have exceeded average annual home price gains over the past 35 years.”

To put last year’s growth into context, the graph below uses data from Freddie Mac on how home prices have changed each year going back to 1980. The dotted line shows the long-term average for appreciation:

a graph showing the average of a home appreciation

The big takeaway? Home prices almost always go up.

As an article from Forbes says:

“. . . the U.S. real estate market has a long and reliable history of increasing in value over time.”

In fact, since 1980, the only time home prices dropped was during the housing market crash (shown in red in the graph above). Fortunately, the market today isn’t like it was in 2008. For starters, there aren’t enough available homes to meet buyer demand right now. On top of that, homeowners have a tremendous amount of equity, so they’re on much stronger footing than they were back then. That means there won’t be a wave of foreclosures that causes prices to fall.

The fact that home values went up every single year except those four in red is why owning a home can be one of the smartest moves you can make. When you’re a homeowner, you own something that typically becomes more valuable over time. And as your home’s value appreciates, your net worth grows.

So, if you’re financially stable and prepared for the costs and expenses of homeownership, buying a home might make a lot of sense for you.

Bottom Line

Home prices almost always go up over time. That makes buying a home a smart move, if you’re ready and able. Connect with a local real estate agent to talk about your goals and what’s available in our area.

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, mortgage rates are probably top of mind for you. They may even be why you’ve put your plans on hold for now. When rates climbed near 8% last year, some buyers found the numbers just didn’t make sense for their budget anymore. That may be the case for you too.

Data from Bright MLS shows the top reason buyers delayed their plans to move is due to high mortgage rates (see graph below):

a graph of blue rectangles with text

David Childers, CEO at Keeping Current Matters, speaks to this statistic in the recent How’s The Market podcast:

“Three quarters of buyers said ‘we’re out’ due to mortgage rates. Here’s what I know going forward. That will change in 2024.”

That’s because mortgage rates have come down off their peak last October. And while there’s still day-to-day volatility in rates, the longer-term projections show rates should continue to drop this year, as long as inflation gets under control. Experts even say we could see rates below 6% by the end of 2024. And that threshold would be a gamechanger for a lot of buyers. As a recent article from Realtor.com says:

Buying a home is still desired and sought after, but many people are looking for mortgage rates to come down in order to achieve it. Four out of 10 Americans looking to buy a home in the next 12 months would consider it possible if rates drop below 6%.”

While mortgage rates are nearly impossible to forecast, the optimism from the experts should give you insight into what’s ahead. If your plans were delayed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel again. That means it may be time to start thinking about your move. The best question you can ask yourself right now, is this:

What number do I want to see rates hit before I’m ready to move?

The exact percentage where you feel comfortable kicking off your search again is personal. Maybe it’s 6.5%. Maybe it’s 6.25%. Or maybe it’s once they drop below 6%.

Once you have that number in mind, here’s what you do. Connect with a local real estate professional. They’ll help you stay informed on what’s happening. And when rates hit your target, they’ll be the first to let you know.

Bottom Line

 If you’ve put your plans to move on hold because of where mortgage rates are, think about the number you want to see rates hit that would make you ready to re-enter the market.

 

Once you have that number in mind, connect with a real estate professional so you have someone on your side to let you know when we get there.