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5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

In today’s market, low inventory dominates the conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared. Here are five tips from realtor.com’s article“How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.” 1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach. This will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range. 2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’ Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Before yo…
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Depending on the Price, You’re Going to Need Advice

Depending on the Price, You’re Going to Need Advice

To understand today’s complex real estate market, it is critical to have a local, trusted advisor on your side – for more reasons than you may think. In real estate today, there are essentially three different price points in the market: the starter-home market, the middle-home market, and the premium or luxury market. Each one is unique, and depending on the city, the price point in these categories will vary. For example, a starter or lower-end home in San Francisco, California is much more expensive than almost any other part of the country. Let’s explore what you need to know about each of these tiers. Starter-Home Market: This market varies by price, and these homes are typically purchased by first-time home buyers or investors looking to flip them for a profit. Across the country, homes in this space currently have less than 6 months of inventory for sale. That means there aren’t enough homes on the lower end of the market for …

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

In a recent article, First American shared how millennials are not really any different from previous generations when it comes to the goal of homeownership; it is still a huge part of their American Dream. The piece, however, also reveals, “Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles faced by first-time home buyers. Dispelling the 20 percent down payment myth could open the path to homeownership for many more.” Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment” Buyers often overestimate how much they need to qualify for a home loan. According to the same article: “Americans still overestimate the qualifications needed to get a mortgage, resulting in qualified potential buyers not even considering homeownership. Indeed, the Urban Institute report revealed that 16 percent of consumers believed that the minimum down payment required by lenders is 20 percent or more, and another 40 percent didn’t know at all.” While many potential buyers still think they ne…

The True Cost of Not Owning Your Home

The True Cost of Not Owning Your Home

There are great advantages to owning a home, yet many people continue to rent. The financial benefits are just some of the reasons why homeownership has been a part of the long-standing American dream. Realtor.com reported that: “Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term – that remains the American dream, and it’s true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option…as people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option.” Why is owning a home financially better than renting? Here are the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership: Homeownership is a form of forced savings.Homeownership provides tax savings.Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.Buying a home is less expensive than renting.No other investment lets you live inside of it. Studies have also shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter. A family that purchased a median-priced h…

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

When selling your house, there are a few key things you can prioritize to have the greatest impact for a faster sale: 1. Make Buyers Feel at HomeDeclutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make buyers feel like they belong in the house. According to the 2019Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors“83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.” Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that, “One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.” 2. Keep It Organized Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized. Before buyers arrive, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. According to the same report, the kitchen is one of …

Have You Budgeted for Closing Costs?

Have You Budgeted for Closing Costs?

Saving for a down payment is a key step in the homebuying process, and it’s not the only piece you need to include in your budget. Another factor that’s important to plan for is the closing costs required to obtain a mortgage. What Are Closing Costs? According to Trulia, “When you close on a home, a number of fees are due. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of the home, and can include title insurance, origination fees, underwriting fees, document preparation fees, and more.” For those who buy a $250,000 home, for example, that amount could be between $5,000 and $12,500 in closing fees. Keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. As mentioned before, Closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price.Trulia gives more great advice, saying, “There will be lots of paperwork in front of you on closing day, and not enough time to read them all. Wor…

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

It may seem hard to imagine that the home you’re in today – whether it’s your starter home or just one you’ve fallen in love with along the way – might not be your forever home. The good news is, it’s okay to admit if your house no longer fits your needs. According to the latest Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, prices have appreciated 3.5% year-over-year. At the same time, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports inventory has dropped 4.3% from one year ago.
These two statistics are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up. This is great news if you own a home and are thinking about selling. The equity in your house has likely risen as prices have increased. Even better is the fact that there’s a large pool of buyers out there searching for the American dream, and your home may be high on their wish list. Bottom Line If you think you’ve outgrown your home, let's get to…