Equity Gains for Today’s Homeowners

Today’s homeowners are sitting on significant equity, even as home price appreciation has eased recently. If you’re a homeowner, your net worth got a boost over the past few years thanks to rising home prices. Here’s what it means for you, even as the market moderates.

How Equity Has Grown in Recent Years 

Because of the imbalance between how many homes were for sale and the number of homebuyers in the market over the past few years, home prices appreciated substantially.

And while price appreciation has slowed this year, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the equity in your home. In fact, the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic finds the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $34,300 over the past year alone. Look at market statistics for Salem and other North Shore communities here!

And if you’ve been in your home longer than that, chances are you have even more equity than you realize.

While that’s the national number, if you want to know what happened in your area, look at the map below from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). It shows on average how much home prices have risen over the past five years, which has been a major driver behind equity growth.

Equity Gains for Today’s Homeowners | Simplifying The Market

Why This Is So Important Right Now 

While equity helps increase your overall net worth, it can also help you achieve other goals, like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you in the sale, and it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling, it may be time to find out how much equity you have and how it can help fuel your next move.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is a long game, and if you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained over time can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, connect with a local real estate professional.

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Spring into Action: Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Expert Guidance

To sell your home this spring, it may need more preparation than it would have a year or two ago. Today’s housing market has a different feel. There are more homes for sale than there were at this time last year, but inventory is still historically low. So, if a house has been sitting on the market for a while, that’s a sign it may not be hitting the mark for potential buyers. But here’s the thing. Right now, homes that are updated and priced at market value are still selling fast.

Today, homes with curb appeal that are presented well are still selling quickly, and sometimes over asking price. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“In a market where costs are still high and buyers can be a little choosier, it makes sense they’re going to really zero in on the homes that are the most appealing.”

With the spring buying season just around the corner, now’s the time to start getting your house ready to sell. And the best way to determine where to spend your time and money is to work with a trusted real estate agent who can help you understand which improvements are most valuable in your local market.

Curb Appeal Wins

One way to prioritize updates that could bring a good return on your investment is to find smaller projects you can do yourself. Little updates that boost your curb appeal usually work well. Investopedia puts it this way:

“Curb-appeal projects make the property look good as soon as prospective buyers arrive. While these projects may not add a considerable amount of monetary value, they will help your home sell faster—and you can do a lot of the work yourself to save money and time.”

Small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior of your home, create a great first impression for buyers and help it stand out. Work with a real estate professional to find the low-cost projects you can tackle around your house that will appeal to buyers in your area.

Not All Updates Are Created Equal

When deciding what you need to do to your house before selling it, remember you’re making these repairs and updates for someone else. Prioritize projects that will help you sell faster or for more money over things that appeal to you as a homeowner.

The 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) highlights popular home improvements and what sort of return they bring for the investment (see graph below):

Spring into Action: Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Expert Guidance | Simplifying The Market

Remember to lean on your trusted real estate advisor for the best advice on the updates you should invest in. They’ll know what local buyers are looking for and have the latest insights of what your house needs to sell quickly this spring.

Bottom Line

As we approach the spring season, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. Connect with a local real estate agent today so you can find out which updates make the most sense.

The Top Reasons for Selling Your House

Many of today’s homeowners bought or refinanced their homes during the pandemic when mortgage rates were at history-making lows. Since rates doubled in 2022, some of those homeowners put their plans to move on hold, not wanting to lose the low mortgage rate they have on their current house. And while today’s rates have started coming down from last year’s peak, they’re still higher than they were a couple of years ago.

Today, 93% of outstanding mortgages have a rate at or below 6%. That means a strong majority of homeowners with mortgages have a rate below what they’d get if they moved right now. But if you’re a homeowner in that position, remember that mortgage rates aren’t the only thing to consider when making a move. Your mortgage rate is important, but there are plenty of reasons you may still need or want to move. RealTrends explains:

“Sellers who don’t have to move won’t be moving. The most common sellers will be: Homeowners downsizing . . . people moving to get more space, [households] looking for better schools…etc.

So, if you’re on the fence about selling your house, consider the other reasons homeowners are choosing to make a move. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) breaks down why homeowners have decided to sell over the past year:

The Top Reasons for Selling Your House | Simplifying The Market

As the visual shows, the most commonly cited reasons for selling were the desire to move closer to loved ones, followed by moving due to retirement, and their neighborhood becoming less desirable. Additionally, the need for more space factored in, as did a change in household structure.

If you also find yourself wanting a change in location or needing space your current house just can’t provide, it may be time to sell.

What you want and need in a home can be reason enough to move. To find out what’s right for you, work with a trusted real estate professional who will offer advice and expert guidance throughout the process. They’ll be able to lay out all your options – giving you what you need to make a confident decision.

Bottom Line

When deciding whether or not to move, you have a lot to consider. There are plenty of non-financial reasons to factor in. Connect with your local real estate professional who can help you weigh the benefits of selling your house.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? You Have Options.

There are plenty of good reasons you might be ready to move. No matter your motivations, before you list your current house, you need to consider where you’ll go next.

In today’s market, it makes sense to explore all your options. That includes both homes that have been lived in before as well as newly built ones. To help you decide which is right for you, let’s compare the benefits of each. Regardless of which option you choose to explore, working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process is essential.

The Benefits of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new house, you’ll be able to:

1. Build your dream home

If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more. Bankrate puts it like this:

“Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs. You also won’t be limited to a specific location or neighborhood.”

 

2. Take advantage of builder concessions

In today’s market, a lot of home builders are working hard to sell their current inventory before they add more to their mix. That means many of them are offering concessions and are more willing to negotiate with buyers. That could work to your advantage in the process.

3. Minimize home repairs

Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little improvement projects to tackle. As realtor.com says:

“. . . if something goes wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .”

4. Take advantage of energy efficiency

When building a home, you can choose brand-new, energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

The Benefits of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare those to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans

With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.

2. Appreciate that lived-in charm

The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home.

3. Join an established neighborhood

Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit. Plus, they have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal.

4. Move in faster

If you have a short timeframe to move or you just don’t want the process to take several months while your home is under construction, buying an existing home might make sense for you. U.S. News explains:

“When you’re choosing a home, existing or new, you should also consider how long it might take to move into that home. Just because you have a contract doesn’t mean that your new home will be completed (or even started) at the time you agree to the purchase. It can be a struggle waiting for the walls to go up as you wonder what your home will become.”

When thinking about where you’ll go after you sell your house, remember your options. As you start your search, think about what’s most important to you. By working with a trusted real estate agent, you can be confident you’re making the most educated, informed decision.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in your area, meet with a local real estate professional to discuss what’s available and what’s right for you.

Is It Time To Sell Your Second Home?

During the pandemic, second homes became popular because of the rise in work-from-home flexibility. That’s because owning a second home, especially in the luxury market, allowed those homeowners to spend more time in their favorite places or with different home features. Keep in mind, a luxury home isn’t only defined by price. In a recent article, Investopedia shares additional factors that push a home into this category: location, such as a home on the water or in a desirable city, and features, the things that make the home itself feel luxurious.

A recent report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) explains just how much remote work impacted the demand for second and luxury homes:

“The unprecedented ten-fold increase towards remote work since the pandemic is an historic development that will continue to fuel second home demand for many years to come.”

But what if you bought a second home that you no longer use? If you’re now shifting back into the office or are seeing your priorities and needs change, you may find you’re not utilizing your second home as much. If so, it may be time to sell it.

And if you own what’s considered a luxury home, buyer demand for it may be even greater. In another report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing explains:

“. . . the last few years have left their legacy for the luxury market. While it might only represent a small percentage of the overall real estate market, luxury homeownership’s influence is growing. Not only has the purchase of homes valued over $1 million (a figure considered by the National Association of Realtors to be a benchmark for luxury) tripled from 2.6% to 6.5% since 2018, but demand for multiple luxury properties has soared over the last two years.

This phenomenal increase has been driven by a growing affluent demographic who consider owning a luxury property a necessity in their asset portfolio. All indications are that this trend is here to stay, albeit that demand is set to return to a more sustainable level.”

If you own a luxury second home that isn’t being used as much anymore, now’s the time to sell. There are still buyers in the market who are looking for a home like yours today.

Bottom Line

Connect with your real estate advisor to explore the benefits of selling your second home this year.

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, you’re likely focused on saving up for everything that purchase involves. One cost that’s likely top of mind is your down payment. But don’t let a common misconception about how much you need to save make the process harder than it could be.

Understand 20% Isn’t Always the Typical Down Payment

Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. This means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, the median down payment today is only 14%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 6% (see graph below):

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

Learn About Options That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

If saving for a down payment still feels like a challenge, know that there’s help available. A real estate professional and trusted lender can show you options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from Down Payment Resource, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.

Plus there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, be sure to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Down Payment Resource. Then, partner with a trusted lender to learn what you qualify for on your homebuying journey.

Bottom Line

Remember, a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your down payment options.

Jim Armstrong
Broker/Owner
Armstrong Field Real Estate

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

Armstrong Field Real Estate

If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, you’re likely focused on saving up for everything that purchase involves. One cost that’s likely top of mind is your down payment. But don’t let a common misconception about how much you need to save make the process harder than it could be.

Understand 20% Isn’t Always the Typical Down Payment

Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. This means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, the median down payment today is only 14%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 6% (see graph below):

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Learn About Options That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

If saving for a down payment still feels like a challenge, know that there’s help available. A real estate professional and trusted lender can show you options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from Down Payment Resource, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.

Plus there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, be sure to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Down Payment Resource. Then, partner with a trusted lender to learn what you qualify for on your homebuying journey.

Bottom Line

Remember, a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to start the conversation and explore your down payment options.

Confused About What’s Going on in the Housing Market? Lean on a Professional.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, you probably want to know what’s really happening with home prices, mortgage rates, housing supply, and more. That’s not an easy task considering how sensationalized headlines are today. Jay Thompson, Real Estate Industry Consultant, explains:

“Housing market headlines are everywhere. Many are quite sensational, ending with exclamation points or predicting impending doom for the industry. Clickbait, the sensationalizing of headlines and content, has been an issue since the dawn of the internet, and housing news is not immune to it.

Unfortunately, when information in the media isn’t clear, it can generate a lot of fear and uncertainty in the market. As Jason Lewris, Cofounder and Chief Data Officer at Parcl, says:

In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Buying or selling a home is a big decision, and it should be one you feel confident making. To help you separate fact from fiction and get the answers you need, lean on a local real estate advisor.

A trusted expert is your best resource to understand what’s happening at the national and local levels. They’ll be able to debunk the headlines using data you can trust. And using their in-depth knowledge of the industry, they’ll provide context so you know how current trends compare to the normal ebbs and flows in the industry, historical data and more.

Then, to make sure you have the full picture, they’ll tell you if your local area is following the national trend or if they’re seeing something different in your market. Together, you’ll use all of that information to make the best possible decision for you.

After all, making a move is a potentially life-changing milestone. It should be something you feel ready for and excited about. And that’s where an agent comes in.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the headlines or what’s happening in the housing market today, connect with a real estate professional for expert insights and advice.

Ready To Sell? Today’s Housing Supply Gives You Two Opportunities

At first glance, the increase in housing supply compared to last year may not sound like good news for prospective sellers, but it actually gives you two key opportunities in today’s housing market.

An article from Calculated Risk helps put the inventory gains the market has seen in 2022 into perspective by comparing it to recent years (see graph below). It shows supply has surpassed 2021 levels by 58%. But the further back you look, the more you’ll understand the bigger picture. And if you go all the way back to 2019, the last normal year in real estate, we’re roughly 35% below the housing supply we had at that time.

Ready To Sell? Today’s Housing Supply Gives You Two Opportunities. | Keeping Current Matters

Opportunity #1: Take Advantage of More Options for Your Move

If your current house no longer meets your needs or lacks the space and features you want, this inventory growth gives you even more opportunity to sell and move into the home of your dreams. With more houses on the market, you’ll have more to choose from when you search for your next home.

Partnering with a local real estate professional can help you make sure you’re up to date on the homes available in your area. And when you do find the one, a professional can advise you on how to write a winning offer.

Opportunity #2: Sell While Inventory Is Still Low Overall

But again, despite the growth, inventory is still low compared to more normal years, and that isn’t going to change overnight. For you, that means your house should still be in demand among potential buyers if you price it right.

As an article from realtor.com says:

“Today’s shoppers generally have more homes to consider than last year’s shoppers did, but the market is still not back to pre-pandemic inventory levels.”

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, you have more homes to choose from and can still sell your house while inventory is low overall. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to a local real estate professional who can help you get the best of both worlds.