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Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you're looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what's happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start .
Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.
Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices.
Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”
DATA from NAR shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):
Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.
There are also down payment programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that’s available, talk with a professional.
Finally, no matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.
If you’re just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved . Once you’re ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer , they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.
Knowledge is key to succeeding on your homebuying journey. Knowing market trends, what you need for a down payment, and what options you have as a buyer today can give you the confidence you need to buy a home. Let’s connect so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the homebuying process.
Life events can have a major impact on what you need from your home, and retirement is one of the biggest changes many of us face. This period of your life can mean doing more of the things you enjoy, like traveling, visiting with loved ones, or taking on new hobbies. But what does that mean for your home?
The 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides more information on why people of retirement age choose to move. It shows the need for a smaller home, the desire to be closer to loved ones, and retirement itself as three of the top reasons homebuyers over the age of 55 make a move.
If you’re in this group, changing priorities may be top of mind for you today, and that could be driving your decision to downsize. After all, as your lifestyle changes, what you need in your home likely changes, too.
Plus, as The Balance notes, moving into a smaller home can open your schedule up even more. When you downsize, you can spend less time maintaining your home and more time with the people you love or exploring newfound hobbies. That’s a recipe that can lead to less stress and increased happiness.
Home equity plays a big role when you sell your existing house and move. It could be a great tool to use to help you downsize. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained about $55,300 in equity over the past 12 months. Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how important price appreciation and equity gains are for existing homeowners:
“Home prices rose 18% during 2021 in the CoreLogic Home Price Index, the largest annual gain recorded in its 45-year history, generating a big increase in home equity wealth, . . . For low- and moderate-income homeowners, home equity has historically been a major source of wealth.”
As home prices rise, your equity does, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize because of the record levels of home price appreciation over the past year. Those equity gains could allow you to make a larger down payment on your next home. And putting more money down can lead to a smaller monthly mortgage payment, which can give you greater financial freedom. It can also be a significant help in navigating today’s competitive housing market, since offering more money up front could help your offer stand out.
Whatever your homeownership goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can help you to find the best option for your situation. They’ll help you sell your current home and guide you as you buy your next one and enter this new phase of life.
Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:
“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent.”
So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s too far out of reach.
Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:
Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.
Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small task, but it can save you time and money. It’s also one of the keys to being successful in today’s competitive market. Let’s connect so we can work together to find a home that fits your wants and needs.
When it's time to move to a smaller home, these tips will help you save the memories while minimizing clutter in your new place. Moving into a new house is often bittersweet. You are excited for the change, but sad to leave a home so full of memories. Downsizing can be even harder. A smaller place means you don’t have room for all of your current possessions. But downsizing is also an opportunity to refresh and start anew. If you get rid of the clutter, you can fill your new place with the things you really love that make it feel like home. Here are three steps for downsizing without sacrificing your meaningful belongings:
1. Make a plan
Take a trip to your new place and measure the size of your rooms and storage areas. This will be your guide for how much you can take with you. It is better to underestimate than overestimate. As you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, do one room at a time. Moving is a big job, and you don’t need to tackle it all at once. Plan to do a little bit each day and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed. Decide on your furniture first. Going from big to small will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.
2. Sort your belongings
Will you use it? It’s easy to convince yourself you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on someday. But if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s likely you never will. Also, get rid of multiples. Do you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china? If you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both. As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy —no “maybes” allowed. Make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t convinced the item deserves a yes, then it’s a no. “Maybe” piles just mean more work for you later.
Decide how to divide up your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they’re probably useful to someone else. Special items may be handed down to friends or family members. Furniture, housewares, clothing, and other items in good condition could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Or you can choose to donate reusable items to organizations like Goodwill, who sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much simpler. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should make its way to the recycling bin or a trip to the dump.
3. Preserve memories
Digitize photos to save space and easily share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your photos in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer. Take photos of items that bring up good memories, but you no longer have room for. You can look back on the memories without actually keeping the items. To make sure those treasured items are in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or close friends. They will love the gift, and you get to enjoy seeing the items being used. Another strategy is to give keepsakes a new life. If you love to craft, items like old movie stubs, letters and photos are perfect for scrapbooking, letting you create a record of your experiences. Or make three-dimensional pieces of art using shadow boxes. Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy.
Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable — only you can decide what you can’t do without. Just imagine: Once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.