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Worried about Home Maintenance Costs? Consider This

Worried about Home Maintenance Costs? Consider This

If one of the main reasons you’re hesitant to buy a home is because you’re worried about the upkeep, here’s some information you may find interesting on both new home construction and existing homes (a home that’s been lived in by a previous owner).

Newly Built Homes Need Less Upfront Maintenance

If you can afford it, you may find a newly built home could help ease your worries about maintenance costs. Think about it, if everything in the house is brand new, it won’t have the wear and tear you may see in an existing home – and that means it’s less likely to need repairs. As LendingTree says:

“Since the systems, appliances, roof and foundation are new, you’re less likely to pay for major or minor repairs within the first few years of homeownership. That can make a big difference for first-time homebuyers who are adjusting to owning rather than renting.”

Plus, many builders also have warranties on their homes that would cover some of the more major expenses that could pop up. As First American explains:

The new systems in your home, like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, are typically covered for one to two years by your builder’s warranty. When something happens to these systems, you contact the builder or their warranty company.”

Existing Homes Can Still Have Great Perks

But it’s worth mentioning, that it’s not just newly built homes that can have warranties. It’s an option for existing homes too.

Your agent may be able to help you negotiate with the seller to add one as a concession on your contract. But you should know that not all sellers will be willing to do that. If they won’t, you could purchase one yourself, if you’d like to. An article from Forbes explains:

During a real estate transaction, a home warranty policy can be purchased by the buyer or the seller.”

And there are benefits for both parties when it comes to a home warranty. According to MarketWatch:

“A buyer’s home warranty benefits both buyers and sellers, as it helps the seller close the deal while providing the future homeowner with peace of mind that they’ll be covered if a system or appliance breaks down . . . Sometimes, a seller will pay for the first year of the home buyer’s warranty to sweeten the deal, but it depends on the real estate market.”

If you’re interested in a home warranty for peace of mind, lean on your agent. They’ll negotiate on your behalf to see if a seller would be willing to cover one for you. Just remember, the likelihood of a seller throwing one in depends on conditions in your local market.

So, Should I Buy New or Existing?

While the need for less upfront maintenance is a great perk for new construction, there are some things a newly built home can’t provide that an existing home can.

For example, existing homes have a lot of character and charm that’s difficult to reproduce. The quirks that come with an older home may make it feel more homey. And, existing homes usually have more developed landscaping and a well-established sense of community. So, it can feel more inviting than something that’s a blank slate, like new construction often is. Not to mention, if you go with new construction, you may have to wait for the home to finish being built based on where it is in the process. It all depends on what’s most important to you.

Bottom Line

Whether you choose a newly built or an existing home, you may be able to ease some of your concerns over maintenance with a home warranty. To weigh your options and go over what’s the top priority for you, talk to the professionals.

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home

Having a hard time finding a first home that’s right for you and your wallet? Well, here’s a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short.

They’re usually smaller than single-family homes, but that’s exactly why they can be easier on your budget. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), condos are typically less expensive than single-family homes (see graph below):

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So, if you’re comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet.

Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage:

“From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.”

Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate:

  • They require less maintenance. Condos are great if you want to own your place but don’t want to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix the roof. Your real estate agent can help explain any associated fees and details for the condos you’re interested in.
  • They allow you to start building equity. When you buy a condo, you build equity and your net worth as you make your mortgage payments and as your condo’s value goes up over time.
  • They often come with added amenities. Your condo might come with access to amenities like a pool, dog park, or parking. And the best part? You don’t have to take care of any of them.
  • They provide you with a sense of community. Buying a condo means you’ll be living close to other people, which is nice if you enjoy having neighbors around and making friends. Many condo communities hold fun events like barbecues and parties during holidays for everyone to enjoy.

Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.

Bottom Line

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you’re ready to see what’s out there, get in touch with a local real estate agent today.

The Top 2 Reasons To Consider a Newly Built Home

The Top 2 Reasons To Consider a Newly Built Home

When you’re planning a move, it’s normal to wonder where you’ll end up and what your future home is going to look like. Maybe you’ve got a specific picture of that house in your mind. But unless you came into this process knowing you want to buy a newly built home, you may not have pictured new home construction.

A trusted real estate agent can help walk you through these two reasons you may want to reconsider that.

1. Adding Newly Built Homes Could Give You More Options

There are two types of homes on the market: new and existing. A newly built home refers to a house that was just built or is under construction. An existing home is one a previous homeowner has already lived in. Right now, the inventory of existing homes is tight. But there may be options for you on the new home side of things.

Data from the Census and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that newly built homes are a bigger part of today’s housing inventory than the norm (see graph below):

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From 1983 to 2019 (the last normal year in the market), newly built homes made up only 13% of the total inventory of homes for sale. But today that number has climbed to over 33%.

Rest assured, after over a decade of underbuilding, builders aren’t overdoing it today. Even with an increase in new construction today, there’s still a significant housing shortage overall. But for you, the uptick in new builds can be a game changer because it gives you more options for your search.

2. Newly Built Homes May Be More Affordable Than You’d Think

You may still be wondering if a new build could really be an option for you. If you’ve previously written them off because you thought they would be out of your budget, consider this. The price gap between a newly built home and an existing house is shrinking. Here’s why.

Builders are going to build what’s in demand. And they know people need more options right now, especially ones that are smaller and potentially more affordable. So, they’re focusing on building smaller homes at lower price points. The graph below shows the price difference between new and existing homes is shrinking as that happens:

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As LendingTree explains:

In the past, newly built homes have been much more expensive than existing homes — but that gap has been getting smaller recently. In some places today, you may find that the cost to build versus buy is roughly the same.”

And an article from CNBC says:

“While new builds are still sold for slightly more than existing homes, the price gap has significantly narrowed . . .”

Not to mention, some builders are even offering price cuts and mortgage rate buy-downs right now to sweeten the deal. Today there are many reasons new builds may be worth considering. Other buyers sure seem to think so. As Freddie Mac says:

“As the supply of existing homes for sale remains low and home prices continue to rise, more buyers are choosing to purchase new homes than in previous years.”

Just know that buying a newly built home isn’t the same as buying an existing one. Builder contracts have different fine print. So, partner with a local agent who knows the market, builder reputations, and what to look for in those contracts so you have an expert on your side to help you explore this option.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out what builders are doing in your area, connect with a real estate agent. And if you’re willing to cast a wider net to open up your options even more, that agent can talk to you about broadening your search to include other towns nearby.

Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Ever thought about living in the same house with your grandparents, parents, or other loved ones? You’re not alone. A lot of people are choosing to buy multi-generational homes where everyone can live together. Let’s check out why they think it’s a good idea to see if it might be a good fit for you, too.

Why People Are Choosing Multi-Generational Living

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are just a few key reasons buyers opted for multi-generational homes over the past year (see graph below):

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Two of the top reasons had to do with aging parents. 27% of buyers chose multi-generational homes so they could take care of their parents more easily. And 19% did it to spend more time with them. A lot of older adults want to age in place, and living in a home with loved ones can help them do just that. If your parents are hoping to do the same, but need a bit of help, a multi-generational home may be worth considering.

But buying a multi-generational home isn’t just about being close or taking care of the people you love—it can save you money, too. 22% of buyers say they picked a multi-generational home to cut down on costs, and 11% needed a bigger house multiple incomes could afford together.

Sharing costs like the mortgage and utilities can make owning a home more affordable. This is especially helpful for first-time homebuyers who might find it challenging to buy a place on their own in today’s market.

As Axios explains:

“Financial concerns and caregiving needs are two of the major reasons people live with their parents (and parents’ parents).”

How an Agent Is Key in Finding the Right Home for You

Looking for the perfect multi-generational home is a bit trickier than finding a regular house. You’ve got more people, which means more opinions and needs to think about. It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces need to fit perfectly.

If you’re into the idea of living with loved ones and want all the benefits that come with it, team up with a local real estate agent who can help you out.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to save money or want to take care of your loved ones, buying a multi-generational home might be a good idea for you. If you want to find out more, talk to a local real estate agent.

Myths About the 2024 Housing Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Myths About the 2024 Housing Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to the current housing market, there are some myths circling around right now.
  • Some of the more common ones are that it’s better to wait for mortgage rates to fall or prices to crash. But there are others about the supply of homes for sale and down payments.
  • Lean on a real estate professional to help separate fact from fiction in today’s housing market.
Is It Better To Rent Than Buy a Home Right Now?

Is It Better To Rent Than Buy a Home Right Now?

You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. And while that may be true in some markets if you just look at typical monthly payments, there’s one thing that the numbers aren’t factoring in: and that’s home equity. Here’s a look at how big of an impact equity can have and why it’s worth considering as you make your decision.

What the Headlines Are Based on

The graph below uses national data on the median rental payment from Realtor.com and median mortgage payment from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to compare the two options. As the graph shows, especially if you’re not looking for a lot of space, it can be more affordable on a monthly basis to rent:

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But if you’re looking for something with 2 bedrooms, the gap between the median rent and the median mortgage payment starts to shrink to a difference that may be more doable. The median monthly mortgage payment is $2,040. The median monthly rent for 2 bedrooms is $1,889. That’s a difference of about $151 a month. But here’s what happens when you factor in equity too.

How Equity Changes the Game

If you rent, your monthly rental payments only go toward covering your housing costs and your landlord’s expenses. So other than saving a bit more per month and maybe getting your rental deposit back when you move, the money you spent on housing each month is gone – forever.

When you buy, your monthly mortgage payment pays for your shelter, but it also acts as an investment. That investment grows in the form of equity as you make your mortgage payment each month and chip away at what you owe on your home loan. Your equity gets an extra boost as home values climb – which they typically do.

To give you a clearer idea of how equity can really stack up fast, here’s some data for you. Each quarter, Fannie Mae and Pulsenomics publish the results of the Home Price Expectations Survey (HPES). It asks more than 100 economists, real estate professionals, and investment and market strategists what they think will happen with home prices. In the latest release, those experts say home prices are going to keep going up over the next five years.

Here’s an example of how equity builds based on the projections from the HPES (see graph below):

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Imagine you purchased a home for $400,000 at the start of this year. Chances are, since you bought, you plan to stay put for a while. Based on the HPES projections, if you live there for 5 years, you could end up gaining over $83,000 in household wealth as your home grows in value.

Here’s how that stacks up compared to renting, using the overall median rent from above:

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While you may save a bit on your monthly payments if you rent right now, you’ll also miss out on gaining equity.

So, what’s the big takeaway? Whether it makes more sense to rent or buy is going to vary based on your personal finances. It’s not a good idea to buy if the numbers truly don’t work for you. But, if you’re ready and able, adding equity as the final puzzle piece may be enough to help you realize buying is a better move in the long run.

Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, buying a home gives you a benefit renting just can’t provide – and that’s the chance to gain equity. If you want to take advantage of long-term home price appreciation, talk to a local real estate agent to go over your options.