Why Buying a Vacation Home Beats Renting One This Summer
For many of us, visiting the same vacation spot every year is a summer tradition that’s fun, relaxing, and restful. If that sounds like you, now’s the time to think about your plans and determine if buying a vacation home this year makes more sense than renting one again. According to Forbes:
“. . . if the idea of vacationing at the same place every year makes you feel instantaneously relaxed, buying a vacation home might be a wise move.”
To help you decide if making a move like this is right for you, let’s explore why you may want to consider purchasing a vacation home today.
Benefits of Owning Your Vacation Home
You don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay. It can be a challenge to find a rental where you want, when you want. Some summer vacation destinations are more popular than others, meaning your favorite place may be booked up in advance. Bankrate explains why owning your vacation home means you don’t have to worry about that sort of inconvenience:
“. . . a second home can offer a place to have quality time with your family and ensures that you always have a vacation destination.”
It’s an investment. Home values typically appreciate over the long haul. That holds true for your vacation home as well, especially if it’s in an area with growing market demand. This can help grow your net worth with time.
Vacation homes may provide tax benefits. If you own a vacation home, you may be eligible for tax deductions based on where it is. However, before buying, you’ll want to consult with a tax professional to discuss first as taxes can vary by location.
It could potentially turn into a retirement location. If you love the location of your vacation home, you could potentially sell your primary residence and retire there in the future.
How a Pro Can Help You Find Your Perfect Match
As you’re preparing for summer vacation, remember, you could potentially visit your second home instead of another rental unit or hotel. If that sounds appealing to you, a
local real estate agent is your best resource. They have the knowledge and resources to help you understand the area and what vacation homes are available in your budget. Plus, these agents can explain the perks of how owning a second home can benefit you.
If any of these reasons for owning a vacation home resonate with you, let’s connect. You still have time to enjoy spending the summer in your vacation home.
How Homeowners Win When They Downsize
Downsizing has long been a popular option when homeowners reach retirement age. But there are plenty of other life changes that could make downsizing worthwhile. Homeowners who have experienced a change in their lives or no longer feel like their house fits their needs may benefit from downsizing too. U.S. News explains:
“Downsizing is somewhat common among older people and retirees who no longer have children living at home. But these days, younger people are also looking to downsize to save money on housing . . .”
And when inflation has made most things significantly more expensive, saving money where you can has a lot of appeal. So, if you’re thinking about ways to budget differently, it could be worthwhile to take your home into consideration.
When you think about cutting down on your spending, odds are you think of frequent purchases, like groceries and other goods. But when you downsize your house, you often end up downsizing the bills that come with it, like your mortgage payment, energy costs, and maintenance requirements. Realtor.com shares:
“A smaller home typically means lower bills and less upkeep. Then there’s the potential windfall that comes from selling your larger home and buying something smaller.”
That windfall is thanks to your home equity. If you’ve been in your house for a while, odds are you’ve developed a considerable amount of equity. Your home equity is an asset you can use to help you buy a home that better suits your needs today.
And when you’re ready to make a move, your team of real estate experts will be your guides through every step of the process. That includes setting the right price for your house when you sell, finding the best location and size for your next home, and understanding what you can afford at today’s mortgage rate.
What This Means for You
If you’re thinking about downsizing, ask yourself these questions:
- Do the original reasons I bought my current house still stand, or have my needs changed since then?
- Do I really need and want the space I have right now, or could somewhere smaller be a better fit?
- What are my housing expenses right now, and how much do I want to try to save by downsizing?
Once you know the answers to these questions, meet with a real estate advisor to get an answer to this one: What are my options in the market right now? A local housing market professional can walk you through how much equity you have in your house and how it positions you to win when you downsize.
If you’re looking to save money, downsizing your home could be a great help toward your goal. Let’s connect to talk about your goals in the housing market this year.
What’s the Difference Between a Home Inspection and an Appraisal?
If you’re planning to buy a home, an inspection is an important step in the process. It assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. It’s also a different step in the process from an appraisal, which is a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.
Here’s the key difference between an inspection and an appraisal. Bankrate says:
“In short, while an appraisal helps you understand a home’s value, inspections help you understand a home’s condition.”
The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”
When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.
This is especially critical in today’s sellers’ market where low inventory is driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.
However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the value of the home. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.
The inspection and the appraisal are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Let’s connect today so you have the expert guidance you need to navigate the entire homebuying process.
Why You May Want an Energy-Efficient Home [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Since inflation is increasing the cost of goods and services, it may make sense to look for an energy-efficient home.
- Energy prices have increased over the last year, so look for energy-efficient features in your home search.
- If you’re looking to buy a home this year, let’s connect so you have a partner to help you consider which features are most important to you.
The Power of Pre-Approval
If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.
Freddie Mac explains it like this:
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”
Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand how much you may be able to borrow so you have a stronger grasp of your options. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.
Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer
That’s not the only thing pre-approval can do. Another added benefit is it can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. And, with sellers seeing a slight increase in the number of offers again this spring, making a strong offer when you find the perfect house is key.
As a recent article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:
“If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”
Getting pre-approved is an important first step when you’re buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow for your loan and shows sellers you’re serious. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.
What Are the Experts Saying About the Spring Housing Market?
The housing market’s been going through a lot of change lately, and there’s been uncertainty surrounding what will happen this spring. You may be wondering if more homes will go on the market, what’s next with home prices and mortgage rates, or what the best advice is for someone in your position right now.
Here’s what industry experts are saying right now about the spring housing market and what it means for you:
Selma Hepp, Chief Economist, CoreLogic:
“We see more competition among buyers . . . Housing supply also tends to grow during the spring months. And this is also the time of year when relatively more migration happens, as people graduate and move elsewhere looking for jobs.”
Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst, Bankrate:
“I don’t expect big moves in prices in the span of a month, but like the flower buds of spring, the housing market is showing signs of improvement. A pick up in activity with inventory still low does bode well for home prices.”
Rick Sharga, Founder and CEO, CJ Patrick Company:
“If you can find a home you love and can afford at today’s prices, don’t wait. Home prices in most of the country are unlikely to crash, and mortgage rates will only come down very gradually if they decline at all this year.”
Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist, Zillow:
“The market is still much friendlier this spring for buyers who can overcome affordability hurdles, but buyers are going to see more competition than they might expect because there are not many homes on the market to go around. New listings are increasing, which they almost always do this time of year, but not nearly as quickly as usual.”
If you’re thinking about selling your house, this spring’s a great time to do so while inventory is still so low. And if you’re in a good position to buy, lean on your team of expert advisors for the best advice. Whatever your plans, let’s connect to make sure you’re able to navigate the spring housing market with confidence.
The Three Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today
There’s been a lot of focus on higher mortgage rates and how they’re creating affordability challenges for today’s homebuyers. It’s true that rates climbed dramatically since the record-low we saw during the pandemic. But home affordability is based on more than just mortgage rates – it’s determined by a combination of mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.
Considering how each one of these factors is changing gives you the full picture of home affordability today. Here’s the latest.
1. Mortgage Rates
While mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they’ve hovered primarily between 6% and 7% for nearly eight months now (see graph below):
As the graph shows, mortgage rates have experienced some volatility during that time. And even a small change in mortgage rates impacts your purchasing power. That’s why it’s so important to lean on your team of real estate professionals for expert advice to stay up to date on what’s happening in the market. While it’s hard to project where mortgage rates will go from here, many experts agree they’ll likely continue to remain around 6%-7% in the immediate future.
2. Home Prices
Over the past few years, home prices appreciated rapidly as the record-low mortgage rates we saw during the pandemic led to a surge in buyer demand. The heightened buyer demand happened while the supply of homes for sale was at record lows, and that imbalance put upward pressure on home prices. However, today’s higher mortgage rates have slowed down price appreciation.
And, the truth is, home price appreciation varies by market. Some areas are seeing slight declines while others have prices that are climbing. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:
“The divergence in home price changes across the U.S. reflects a tale of two housing markets. Declines in the West are due to the tech industry slowdown and a severe lack of affordability after decades of undersupply. The consistent gains in the Southeast and South reflect strong job markets, in-migration patterns and relative affordability due to new home construction.”
To find out what’s happening with prices in your local market, reach out to a trusted real estate agent.
The most positive factor in affordability right now is rising income. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have grown over time:
Higher wages improve affordability because they reduce the percentage of your income it takes to pay your mortgage since you don’t have to put as much of your paycheck toward your monthly housing cost.
Home affordability comes down to a combination of rates, prices, and wages. If you have questions or want to learn more, reach out to a real estate professional who can explain what’s happening locally and how these factors work together.
If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing the key factors that impact affordability is important so you can make an informed decision. To stay up to date on the latest on each, let’s connect today.
Why Today’s Foreclosure Numbers Are Nothing Like 2008
You’ve likely seen headlines about the number of foreclosures climbing in today’s housing market. That may leave you with a few questions, especially if you’re thinking about buying a house. Understanding what they really mean is mission-critical if you want to know the truth about what’s happening today.
According to a recent report from ATTOM, a property data provider, foreclosure filings are up 6% compared to the previous quarter and 22% since one year ago. As media headlines call attention to this increase, reporting on just the number could actually generate worry and may even make you think twice about buying a home for fear that prices could crash. The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed.
Let’s look at the latest information with context so we can see how this compares to previous years.
It Isn’t the Dramatic Increase Headlines Would Have You Believe
In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been down to record lows. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options for homeowners helped millions of homeowners stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period. And with home values rising at the same time, many homeowners who may have found themselves facing foreclosure under other circumstances were able to leverage their equity and sell their houses rather than face foreclosure. Moving forward, equity will continue to be a factor that can help keep people from going into foreclosure.
As the government’s moratorium came to an end, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because foreclosures are up doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble. As Clare Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.com, says:
“There’s no reason to panic, at least not yet. Foreclosure filings began ticking up . . . after the federal foreclosure moratorium ended. The moratorium was enacted in the early days of COVID-19, when millions of Americans lost their jobs, to prevent a tsunami of homeowners losing their properties. So some of these proceedings would have taken place during the pandemic but got delayed due to the moratorium. This is a bit of a catch-up.”
Basically, there’s not a sudden flood of foreclosures coming. Instead, some of the increase is due to the delayed activity explained above while more is from economic conditions. As Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, explains:
“This unfortunate trend can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as rising unemployment rates, foreclosure filings making their way through the pipeline after two years of government intervention, and other ongoing economic challenges. However, with many homeowners still having significant home equity, that may help in keeping increased levels of foreclosure activity at bay.”
To further paint the picture of just how different the situation is now compared to the housing crash, take a look at the graph below. It shows foreclosure activity has been lower since the crash by looking at properties with a foreclosure filing going all the way back to 2005.
While foreclosures are climbing, it’s clear foreclosure activity now is nothing like it was during the housing crisis. In addition to all of the factors mentioned above, that’s also largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans.
Today, foreclosures are far below the record-high number that was reported when the housing market crashed.
Right now, putting the data into context is more important than ever. While the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst, and that won’t lead to a crash in home prices.
Ways To Overcome Affordability Challenges in Today’s Housing Market [INFOGRAPHIC]
- With so few homes on the market right now, widening the scope of your search to include nearby areas could help you find more options in your budget.
- You can also work with a trusted lender to consider alternative financing options and search for down payment assistance.
- If you’ve been searching for a home but are concerned about rising costs, make sure you have a team of trusted real estate professionals for expert advice.
Why Buying a Home Makes More Sense Than Renting Today
Wondering if you should continue renting or if you should buy a home this year? If so, consider this. Rental affordability is still a challenge and has been for years. That’s because, historically, rents trend up over time. Data from the Census shows rents have been climbing pretty steadily since 1988.
And, data from the latest rental report from Realtor.com shows rents continue to grow today, even though it’s at a slower pace than we saw at the height of the pandemic:
“In March 2023, the U.S. rental market experienced single-digit growth for the eighth month in a row . . . The median asking rent was $1,732, up by $15 from last month and down by $32 from the peak but is still $354 (25.7%) higher than the same time in 2019 (pre-pandemic).”
With rents much higher now than they were in more normal, pre-pandemic years, owning your home may be a better option, especially if the long-term trend of rents increasing each year continues. In contrast, homeowners with a fixed-rate mortgage can lock in a monthly mortgage payment for the duration of their loan (typically 15-30 years).
Owning a Home Could Be More Affordable if You Need More Space
The graph below uses national data on the median rental payment from Realtor.com and median mortgage payment from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to compare the two options. As the graph shows, depending on how much space you need, it’s typically more affordable to own than to rent if you need two or more bedrooms:
So, if you’re looking to live somewhere where you have two or more bedrooms to accommodate your household, give you more breathing room to spread out your belongings, or dedicate the extra space to practice your hobbies, it might make sense to consider homeownership.
Homeownership Allows You To Start Building Equity
In addition to shielding you from rising rents and being more affordable when you need more space, owning your home also allows you to start building your own equity, which in turn grows your net worth.
And, as home values typically rise over time and you pay off your mortgage, you build equity. That equity can set you up for success later on because you can use it to help fuel a move to an even bigger space down the line. That’s why, according to Zonda, the top reason millennial homeowners bought their home over the past year was to build their own equity instead of someone else’s.
If you’re trying to decide whether to buy a home or continue renting, let’s connect to explore your options. With rents rising, it may make more sense to pursue your dream of homeownership.