Buyers

Why an Agent Is Essential When Pricing Your House

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to pricing your house, there’s a lot to consider. The only way to ensure you price it right is by partnering with a local real estate professional.
  • To find the best price, your agent balances current market demand, the values of homes in your neighborhood, where prices are headed, and your home’s condition.
  • Don’t pick just any price for your house. If you’re ready to sell, let’s connect to find the perfect price for your house.

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

Wealthy suburbs and modern residential architecture in California

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981.”

With inflation rising, you’re likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankratesays:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That’s certainly not the case if you’re renting.”

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it’s true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That’s because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you’re ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you’re ready to get started, let’s connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you’re ready to buy a home.

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan

USA, Kalifornien, Pasadena, Haus, Outdoor, Portrait, Familie, Junge sitzt auf Schultern des Vaters, Haus im Hintergrund

Once you’ve applied for a mortgage to buy a home, there are some key things to keep in mind. While it’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating, be careful when it comes to making any big purchases. Here are a few things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Co-Sign Loans for Anyone

When you co-sign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don’t Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don’t Apply for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your mortgage interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

In Short, Consult an Expert

To sum it up, be upfront about any changes when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it’s best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans

Mature woman contemplating at home

Today we take time to honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. When it comes to real estate specifically, equitable access to housing has come a long way, but the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color.

The Gap in Homeownership Rate in America

It’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some buyers, as shown by the measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, Census data shows the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):

This graph clearly indicates there’s a gap that still exists in the percentage of people in each community who are able to achieve homeownership. 

How Homeownership Impacts Household Wealth 

One of the challenges that could make buying a home harder for these groups is how difficult it can be to accumulate wealth. Even today, there are obstacles certain racial and ethnic groups, especially the Black community, still face. A recent article from NextAdvisor explains:

“The median Black household earns 61 cents for every dollar earned by a comparable White household, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This not only makes it more difficult to afford a home, but also to accumulate and pass on generational wealth.”

This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth and build wealth that can pass down to future generations – a point that’s clear in a 2022 report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Given that homeownership contributes to wealth accumulation and the homeownership rate is lower in minority groups, data shows that the net worth for these groups is also lower. At $188,200, the net worth of a typical white family was nearly 8 times greater than that of a Black family ($24,100) in 2019.”

It’s important to talk about the experience Black homebuyers may have and the challenges they may face as they pursue their dream of homeownership. The inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process.

These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way. They can point you to important resources and tools that can help you throughout your journey to homeownership.

Bottom Line

Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side to help you achieve your dream of homeownership.

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year

Plans for Housing,Finance and Banking about House concept.

If you own a home, your net worth likely just got a big boost thanks to rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And today, based on recent home price appreciation, you’re building that equity far faster than you may expect – here’s how it works.

Because there’s an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are on the rise. That means your home is worth more in today’s market because it’s in high demand. As Patrick Dodd, President and CEO of CoreLogicexplains:

“Price growth is the key ingredient for the creation of home equity wealth. . . . This has led to the largest one-year gain in average home equity wealth for owners. . . .”

Basically, because your home value has likely climbed so much, your equity has increased too. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $64,000 over the last 12 months.

While that’s the nationwide number, if you want to know what’s happening in your area, look at the map below. It breaks down the average year-over-year equity growth for each state using the data from CoreLogic.

The Opportunity Your Rising Home Equity Provides

In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, 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 or you’re worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s ongoing home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained 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, let’s connect so you can get a professional equity assessment report on your house.

Home Price Deceleration Doesn’t Mean Home Price Depreciation

Experts in the real estate industry use a number of terms when they talk about what’s happening with home prices. And some of those words sound a bit similar but mean very different things. To help clarify what’s happening with home prices and where experts say they’re going, here’s a look at a few terms you may hear:

  • Appreciation is when home prices increase.
  • Depreciation is when home prices decrease.
  • Deceleration is when home prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower pace.

Where Home Prices Have Been in Recent Years

For starters, you’ve probably heard home prices have skyrocketed over the past two years, but homes were actually appreciating long before that. You might be surprised to learn that home prices have climbed for 122 consecutive months (see graph below):

As the graph shows, houses have gained value consistently over the past 10 consecutive years. But since 2020, the increase has been more dramatic as home price growth accelerated.

So why did home prices climb so much? It’s because there were more buyers than there were homes for sale. That imbalance put upward pressure on home prices because demand was high and supply was low.

Where Experts Say Home Prices Are Going

While this is helpful context, if you’re a buyer or seller in today’s market, you probably want to know what’s going to happen with home prices moving forward. Will they continue that same growth path or will home prices fall?

Experts are forecasting ongoing appreciation, just at a decelerated pace. In other words, prices will keep climbing, just not as fast as they have been. The graph below shows home price forecasts from seven industry leaders. None are calling for prices to fall (see graph below):

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, identifies a key reason why home prices won’t depreciate or drop:

In today’s housing market, demand for homes continues to outpace supply, which is keeping the pressure on house prices, so don’t expect house prices to decline.”

And although housing supply is starting to tick up, it’s not enough to make home prices decline because there’s still a gap between the number of homes available for sale and the volume of buyers looking to make a purchase.

Terry Loebs, Founder of the research firm Pulsenomics, notes that most real estate experts and economists anticipate home prices will continue rising. As he puts it:

“With home values at record-high levels and a vast majority of experts projecting additional price increases this year and beyond, home prices and expectations remain buoyant.”

Bottom Line

Experts forecast price deceleration, not depreciation. That means home prices will continue to rise, just at a slower pace. Let’s connect so you can get the full picture of what’s happening with home prices in our local market and to discuss your buying and selling goals.

More Listings Are Coming onto the Market 

Some Highlights

  • Worried you won’t be able to find your next home after you sell? You should know data from realtor.com shows more listings are coming onto the market each month this year.
  • Having additional options can make the search for your next home easier. But inventory is still low overall, which means your house should still stand out when you sell.
  • If your biggest question is where you’ll go if you sell, take this as encouraging news. Let’s connect to start the process today.

A Majority of Consumers Say It’s a Good Time To Sell Your House

If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling your house, you’re probably looking for the best time to make your move. That means you’re likely balancing a number of factors, like your changing needs, where you’ll go when you sell, and today’s mortgage rates in order to time it just right.

According to recent data, that sweet spot could already be here. The latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae finds that 76% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

The graph below shows the percentage of survey respondents who say it’s a good time to sell a house. The big dip in March and April of 2020 reflects how consumer sentiment dropped at the beginning of the pandemic as uncertainty about the health crisis grew. Since then, the percentage has grown consistently as more people feel confident it’s a good time to sell.

In fact, survey respondents think it’s an even better time to sell a house today than they did in 2019, which was a strong year for the housing market. The latest survey results indicate one of the strongest peaks in seller sentiment in nearly three years (see graph below):

What Makes Today a Good Time To Sell?

One reason so many people think it’s a good time to sell is because there are still more buyers in today’s market than there are homes for sale. That’s driving home prices up, making it a good time to sell your house.

And if you’re on the fence about whether or not to sell because you don’t know where you’ll go once you do, know that you might have more options today than in previous months. That’s because the number of homes coming onto the market has grown each month since the start of the year. When more homes come onto the market, it gives you more opportunities to find one that meets your changing needs.

Bottom Line

While the number of homes available for sale is growing and giving you more options for your move, inventory is still low overall. That could mean it’s a great time for you to sell. If you’re ready to address your changing needs and take advantage of today’s favorable conditions, let’s connect.

What You Need To Know About Selling in a Sellers’ Market

Armchair and tree in house entryway

Even if you haven’t been following real estate news, you’ve likely heard about the current sellers’ market. That’s because there’s a lot of talk about how strong market conditions are for people who want to sell their houses. But if you’re thinking about listing your house, you probably want to know: what does being in a sellers’ market really mean?

What Is a Sellers’ Market?

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still very low. There’s a 2-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a normal or neutral market where there are enough homes available for active buyers. That puts today deep in sellers’ market territory (see graph below):

What Does This Mean for You When You Sell?

When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. That creates increased competition among purchasers which can lead to more bidding wars. And if buyers know they may be entering a bidding war, they’re going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer upfront. This could drive the final price of your house up.

And because mortgage rates and home prices are climbing, serious buyers are motivated to make their purchase soon, before those two things rise further. That means, if you put your house on the market while supply is still low, it will likely get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.

Bottom Line

The current real estate market has incredible opportunities for homeowners looking to make a move. Listing your house this season means you’ll be in front of serious buyers who are ready to buy. Let’s connect so you can jumpstart the selling process.

Things That Could Help You Win a Bidding War on a Home

Cropped shot of a young confident woman stretching legs after running at the park, against sunlight at sunset.

With a limited number of homes for sale today and so many buyers looking to make a purchase before mortgage rates rise further, bidding wars are common. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nationwide, homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale. Here’s a look at how that breaks down state-by-state (see map below):

The same report from NAR shows the average buyer made two offers before getting their third offer accepted. In this type of competitive housing market, it’s important to know what levers you can pull to help you beat the competition. While a real estate professional is your ultimate guide to presenting a strong offer, here are a few things you could consider.

Offering over Asking Price

When you think of sweetening the deal for sellers, the first thought you likely have is around the price of the home. In today’s housing market, it’s true more homes are selling for over asking price because there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. You just want to make sure your offer is still within your budget and realistic for the market value in your area – that’s where a local real estate professional can help you through the process. Bankrate says:

Simply put, being willing to pay more money than other buyers is one of the best ways to get your offer accepted. You may not have to increase it by a lot — it’ll depend on the area and other factors — so look to your real estate agent for guidance.”

Putting Down a Bigger Earnest Money Deposit

You could also consider putting down a larger deposit up front. An earnest money deposit is a check you write to go along with your offer. If your offer is accepted, this deposit is credited toward your home purchase. NerdWallet explains how it works:

A typical earnest money deposit is 1% to 2% of the home’s purchase price, but the amount varies by location. A higher earnest money deposit may catch a seller’s attention in a hot housing market.”

That’s because it shows the seller you’re seriously interested in their house and have already set aside money that you’re ready to put toward the purchase. Talk to a professional to see if this is something you can do in your area. 

Making a Higher Down Payment 

Another option is increasing how much of a down payment you’re going to make. The benefit of a higher down payment is you won’t have to finance as much. This helps the seller feel like there’s less risk of the deal or the financing falling through. And if other buyers put less down, it could be what helps your offer stand out from the crowd.

Non-Financial Options To Make a Strong Offer

Realtor.com points out that while increasing these financial portions of the deal can help, they’re not your only options:

. . . Price is not the only factor sellers weigh when they look at offers. The buyer’s terms and contingencies are also taken into account, as well as pre-approval letters, appraisal requirements, and the closing time the buyer is asking for.”

When it’s time to make an offer, partner with a trusted professional. They have insight into what sellers are looking for in your local market and can give you expert advice on what levers you may or may not want to pull when it’s time to write an offer.

From a non-financial perspective, this can include things like flexible move-in dates or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). For example, you could make an offer that’s not contingent on the sale of your current home. Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to forego, like your home inspection. Ultimately, the options you have can vary state-to-state, so it’s best to lean on an expert real estate professional for guidance.

Bottom Line

In today’s hot housing market, you need a partner who can serve as your guide, especially when it comes to making a strong offer. Let’s connect so you have a trusted resource and coach on how to make the strongest offer possible for your specific situation.