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Remote Work Trends Mean Flexibility for First-Time Homebuyers

(Published on - 8/5/2022 7:02:34 PM)

KCM

Today’s low inventory can be challenging for homebuyers, especially if you’re looking to purchase your first home. But if you’re one of many people who work remotely, you may have a great opportunity to use the flexibility you have at work to achieve your homebuying goals this year.

In a recent report, Arch Capital Services explains how the ongoing trend of remote work can open up more options for homebuyers:

“. . . This will enable those who are able to work from home on a part-time or hybrid basis to move slightly farther away from job centers. . . . For workers who secure full-time remote jobs, their place of residence will be determined by affordability and personal preferences.”

Basically, working from home is great news if you’re a first-time buyer trying to find a home that meets your needs and budget. Here’s a deeper look at how it could benefit you.

Extra Flexibility in Your Career Means Extra Flexibility in Your Home Search
If your job is 100% remote, you don’t have to be tied to a specific location or office. So, if you’ve been having a hard time finding what you want in your local area, it may be time to expand your search.

One option you could consider is moving to a place where you’ve always wanted to live, like the mountains, beach, or closer to loved ones. When you broaden your search radius to include those locations, it’ll give you additional homes to consider.

It could also allow you to search for a more affordable location where you have more options in your price range. This can help you achieve two goals – saving money and finding additional features that meet your needs. To truly highlight this benefit, a recent First American article discusses the great ways remote work can really help you with your homebuying goals. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, says:

“For potential first-time home buyers, leveraging their house-buying power in more affordable markets can also help them buy more attractive homes – more square footage and rooms, more options for different home styles and neighborhood amenities – increasing the opportunity to find a home that suits their preferences.”

That means you can use your work flexibility to search for homes with the amenities you need at a lower price point.

Bottom Line
Remote work doesn’t just give you expanded flexibility for your career. If you’re no longer tied to a location because of your office, you have a great opportunity to expand your housing search. Connect with our local real estate advisors to explore how this can open up your options.


If You’re Selling Your House This Summer, Hiring a Pro Is Critical

(Published on - 7/22/2022 7:41:36 PM)

KCM

It can be tempting, especially with how hot the housing market has been over the past two years, to consider selling your home on your own. But today’s market is at a turning point, making it more essential than ever to work with a real estate professional.

Not only will a trusted real estate advisor keep you updated and help you make the best decisions based on current market trends, but they’re also experts in managing the many aspects of selling your house.

Here are five key reasons why working with a real estate professional makes sense today.

1. A Professional Follows the Latest Market Trends
With higher mortgage rates, rising home prices, and a growing number of homes for sale, today’s housing market is showing signs of a shift back toward more pre-pandemic levels. When conditions change, following the trends and staying on top of new information is crucial when you sell.

That makes working with an expert real estate advisor critical today. They know your local area and follow national trends too. More importantly, they’ll know what this data means for you, and as the market shifts, they’ll be able to help you navigate it and make your best decision.

2. A Professional Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers
Your agent’s role in bringing in buyers is important. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

“You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.”

3. A Professional Understands the Fine Print
Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains it best, saying:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

4. A Professional Is a Trained Negotiator
If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

5. A Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House
If you sell your house on your own, you may over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. NAR explains it like this:

“A great real estate agent will look at your home with an unbiased eye, providing you with the information you need to enhance marketability and maximize price.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your home. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.

Bottom Line
Whether it’s following local and national trends and guiding you through a shifting market or pricing your house right, a real estate agent has essential insights you’ll want to rely on throughout the transaction. Don’t go at it alone. If you plan to sell, reach out to a local real estate professional so you have an expert on your side.


Why Rising Mortgage Rates Push Buyers off the Fence

(Published on - 7/8/2022 1:30:44 PM)

KCM

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably heard mortgage rates are rising and have wondered what that means for you. Since mortgage rates have increased over two percentage points this year, it’s natural to think about how this will impact your homeownership plans.

Today, buyers are reacting in one of two ways: they’re either making the decision to buy now before rates climb higher or they’re waiting it out in hopes rates will fall. Let’s look at some context that can help you understand why so many buyers are jumping off the fence and into action rather than waiting to buy.

A Look Back: How the Current Mortgage Rate Compares to Historical Data
One factor that could help you make your decision to buy now is how today’s mortgage rates compare to historical data. While higher than the average 30-year fixed rate in recent years, the latest rates are still comparatively low when you look at the bigger picture of where rates have been since 1971 (see graph below):

KCM

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains it like this:

“. . . historical context is important. An average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate of 5.5 percent is still well below the historical average of nearly 8 percent.”

If you’re deciding whether to buy now or wait, this is important context to have. Today’s mortgage rate still gives you a window of opportunity to lock in a rate that’s comparatively lower than decades past.

A Look Ahead: What Happens if Rates Climb Further
The buyers who are springing into action now are also motivated to make their move because they know rates have risen steadily this year, and they’re eager to get ahead of any further increases.

Why? When mortgage rates climb, they impact the monthly mortgage payment you’ll have on the home you’re buying. Basically, it’ll likely cost you more to buy a home if you wait. Experts say mortgage rates will rise (although more moderately) in the months ahead. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“. . . ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even higher in the months to come.”

So, if you’re ready and financially able to buy now, it may make more sense to get off the fence and make your purchase sooner rather than later. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“With even higher interest rates on the horizon, I don’t see any reason to hold off from purchasing a home right now. If you feel financially secure, you should start looking for a home.”

At the end of the day, there is no perfect advice on when to buy a home. What you should do depends on your goals, your finances, and your personal situation. Use this information with the help of local real estate professionals to make an informed decision on what’s best for you. The Mortgage Reports sums it up best:

“. . . if you’re on the fence about whether to buy now or wait for a better deal, buying sooner rather than later might be wise. That said, home buying is always a personal decision. Whether you should buy in 2022 depends on your financial situation and the local housing market where you live.”

Bottom Line
For many buyers, rising mortgage rates are motivating them to act now and make a purchase before rates rise higher. To decide what move is best for you, partner with our trusted real estate professionals so you have expert advice on your side.


Why Summer Is a Great Time To Buy a Vacation Home

(Published on - 6/3/2022 1:03:52 PM)

KCM

You may be someone who looks forward to summer each year because it gives you an opportunity to rest, unwind, and enjoy more quality time with your loved ones. Now that summer is just around the corner, it’s worthwhile to start thinking about your plans and where you want to spend your vacations this year. Here are a few reasons a vacation home could be right for you.

Why You May Want To Consider a Vacation Home Today
Over the past two years, a lot has changed. You may be one of many people who now work from home and have added flexibility in where you live. You may also be someone who delayed trips for personal or health reasons. If either is true for you, there could be a unique opportunity to use the flexibility that comes with remote work or the money saved while not traveling to invest in your future by buying a vacation home.

Bankrate explains why a second home, or a vacation home, may be something worth considering:

“For those who are able, buying a second home is suddenly more appealing, as remote working became the norm for many professionals during the pandemic. Why not work from the place where you like to vacation — the place where you want to live?

If you don’t work remotely, a vacation home could still be at the top of your wish list if you have a favorite getaway spot that you visit often. It beats staying in a tiny hotel room or worrying about rental rates each time you want to take a trip.”

How a Professional Can Help You Find the Right One
So, if you’re looking for an oasis, you may be able to make it a second home rather than just the destination for a trip. If you could see yourself soaking up the sun in a vacation home, you may want to start your search. Summer is a popular time to buy vacation homes. By beginning the process now, you could get ahead of the competition.

The first step is working with a local real estate advisor who can help you find a home in your desired location. A professional has the knowledge and resources to help you understand the market, what homes are available and at what price points, and more. They can also walk you through all the perks of owning a second home and how it can benefit you.

recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), mentions some of the top reasons buyers today are looking into purchasing a second, or a vacation, home:

“According to Google’s data, the top reasons that homeowners cited for purchasing a second home were to diversify their investments, earn money renting, and use as a vacation home.”

If any of the reasons covered here resonate with you, connect with a real estate professional to learn more. They can give you expert advice based on what you need, your goals, and what you’re hoping to get out of your second home.

Bottom Line
Owning a vacation home is an investment in your future and your lifestyle. If this is one of your goals this year, you still have time to buy and enjoy spending the summer in your vacation home. When you’re ready to get started, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.


What The Future of Home Price Appreciation Means For You

(Published on - 5/13/2022 7:05:11 PM)

KCM

Many consumers are wondering what will happen with home values over the next few years. Some are concerned that the recent run-up in home prices will lead to a situation similar to the housing crash 15 years ago.

However, experts say the market is totally different today. For example, Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, tweeted recnetly week on this issue:

“. . . We do need price appreciation to slow today (it’s not sustainable over the long run) but high price growth today is supported by fundamentals- short supply, lower rates & demographic demand. And we are in a much different & safer space: better credit quality, low DTI [Debt-To-Income] & tons of equity. Hence, a crash in prices is very unlikely.”

Price appreciation will slow from the double-digit levels the market has seen over the last two years. However, experts believe home values will not depreciate (where a home would lose value).

To this point, Pulsenomics just released the latest Home Price Expectation Survey – a survey of a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists. It forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years. Below are the expected year-over-year rates of home price appreciation based on the average of all 100+ projections:

  • 2022: 9%
  • 2023: 4.74%
  • 2024: 3.67%
  • 2025: 3.41%
  • 2026: 3.57%

Those responding to the survey believe home price appreciation will still be relatively high this year (though half of what it was last year), and then return to more normal levels over the next four years.

What Does This Mean for You as a Buyer?
With a limited supply of homes available for sale and both prices and mortgage rates increasing, it can be a challenging market to navigate as a buyer. But buying a home sooner rather than later does have its benefits. If you wait to buy, you’ll pay more in the future. However, if you buy now, you’ll actually be in the position to make future price increases work for you. Once you buy, those rising home prices will help you build your home’s value, and by extension, your own household wealth through home equity.

As an example, let’s assume you purchased a $360,000 home in January of this year (the median price according to the National Association of Realtors rounded up to the nearest $10K). If you factor in the forecast for appreciation from the Home Price Expectation Survey, you could accumulate over $96,000 in household wealth over the next five years (see graph below):

KCM

Bottom Line
If you’re trying to decide whether to buy now or wait, the key is knowing what’s expected to happen with home prices. Experts say prices will continue to climb in the years ahead, just at a slower pace. So, if you’re ready to buy, doing so now may be your best bet for your wallet. It’ll also give you the chance to use future home price appreciation to build your own net worth through rising equity. If you want to get started, connect with our real estate professionals today.


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