What Makes a House a Home For You?

We frequently talk about why it makes sense to buy a home financially, but more often than not the emotional reasons are the more powerful or compelling ones.

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of a home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones.

1. Owning your home offers stability to start and raise a family

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their minds as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers you not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place that allows you to relax after a long day!

3. You have more space for you and your family

Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take all this into consideration when buying your dream home!

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t do all of these things in your own home?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

Some Highlights:

  • Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale which means that buyers are often competing with one another for the few listings that are available!
  • Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed to sustain a normal housing market.
  • Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

Every year around this time, we take time to reflect and plan for next year. If you are renting your current home but have dreams of homeownership, your plan for the new year may include buying, and you wouldn’t be alone!

According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying in the next 5 years, with 38% planning to buy in the next 2 years!

When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said that rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe that their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:

It’s no wonder that rising rental costs came in as the top answer! The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below!

There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again… why are they renting?

When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

If the majority of those who believe they haven’t saved a large enough down payment believe that they need 20% down to buy, that means a large number of renters may be able to buy now!

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is fed up with rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to help you on your path to homeownership.

In real estate, the spring is often seen as the ideal time to buy or sell a house. The term “Spring Buyer’s Season” exists for a reason, as renters and those looking to move on from their current home thaw out from the winter and hit the market ready to buy.

According to Bank of America’s annual Home Buyer Insights Report, 41% of renters surveyed agree that spring is the best time to buy a home. The surprising result, however, is that when ranking the seasons, winter comes in second at 24%.

In many areas of the country, the spring and summer are the most competitive seasons for buyers. Families with children often want to move over the summer to make sure that their kids are ready for school in the fall. This often leads those families who haven’t found homes to buy to push pause on their search in the fall and winter months.

This creates a great environment for buyers to find a home with less competition. According to moving.com, scheduling a move during the winter months also comes with the best price.

If you define ‘best’ by cost then, generally speaking, you are more likely to save on a move during the late September to April window. Demand for movers usually slows down during this time frame and rates are low.

There are also many benefits to listing your house for sale during the winter months as well!

As we recently mentioned, buyers who are out in the winter are serious about wanting to find a home, and there is traditionally less competition on the market which gives you greater exposure to those buyers.

Bottom Line

As always, the best time to buy or move all depends on each individual buyer or seller’s goals and needs. If you are one of the many who would like to make a move this winter, let’s get together to create a plan to make it happen!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insight report revealed that home prices have appreciated by 5.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.7% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4.8%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase in 2019.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person building that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Every year at this time there are many homeowners who decide to wait until after the holidays to list their homes for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their new employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Inventory of homes for sale traditionally slows in the late fall, early winter. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:

  1. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  2. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights which will lessen the demand for your house in 2019.

Bottom Line 

Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

  1. Get pre- approved for your mortgage. Talk to Mortgage Broker before beginning to shop in your desired market.  It is prudent to shop within your price range, not above it.  Get pre-qualified so that when you are ready to make an offer you are prepared.
  2. When purchasing in a resort or beach town it is wise to choose a local mortgage company. Typically, these brokers know the market as well as the rules revolving around purchasing all types of properties: single family, multi- unit, condominium and apartments or condotels.
  3. Once you have identified a property determine the estimated upkeep costs before you buy. These include basic utilities such as water, electric, cable packages, gas, etc.  In addition, items such as power & window washing, carpet and & upholstery, seasonal landscaping, awnings being removed, stored & re-hung.  If you intend to rent, calculate a yearly budget for replacing damaged and missing items, as well as updating bedding and linens every couple of seasons.
  4. Think about your needs when shopping for a summer home. Is this a purchase you intend to grow into?  Or a stepping stone?  If your children are little now, does that change the desired location of the purchase as compared to when they are older? Are your adult children about to get married?  Are you expecting more grandchildren?   Do you need a large dining area or do you plan to dine out when in town?  If you intend to rent, think about what would give your property a competitive edge over another when a renter is shopping?  Bedrooms, bathrooms, deck size, and things like the number of parking spots should all factor into these decisions.
  5. Once you have identified a specific area be sure to scope it out. This means driving or biking by at various times of the day. You should also take a ride by on Saturday during rental changeover periods. In addition, visit the area during high tides and if possible after storms.  This enables you not only to get to know your potential neighbors but also neighborhood conditions.
  6. Don’t try and time the market. In a resort area there is not “perfect” time to purchase a home. If you find the home that fits your needs and you are ready to buy, then go for it.  Often buyers who are trying to time the market wait and miss out on the house they were hoping to purchase.  Then they are forever left chasing the one that got away.
  7. Hire a Realtor. Buyers and sellers tend to think they are getting a better deal by avoiding using a professional. Truth be told most “For Sale By Owner” sellers hire an agent within 30-60 days of unsuccessfully selling their home. For that period they are without a strong representation in the marketplace and you as the buyer may have missed the opportunity to tour their home and may have settled for something else.
  8. Hire a local Realtor. Real Estate agents provide valuable services. A good local agent is a student of his or her town and can help you to make an informed purchase. Also, the local agent usually knows of new listings hitting the marketplace before out of town agents.  In most towns the agents work together to facilitate both the sale and purchase of their clients’ homes.  In many cases homes are sold right as they hit the market.  Without having hired a trusted local agent on your team, you may never know about these listings.
  9. It is said that buyers know within 10 seconds of walking in the front door of a home if it is the right fit for them. That being said, avoid buying a property strictly on emotion. Be sure to know the lot size, taxes, any necessary repairs, age of the home, roof, etc.  You may be wowed by the wallpaper and décor, but don’t let that cloud your decision.
  10. Get excited! Most people can only dream of purchasing a beach home or investment property. Allow yourself to start imagining all the memories you will make with your family and friends for years to come. I cannot tell you how many times I tell people where I live, and they have a story to tell me about their time spent here.  It is never ending.  Count your blessings and get ready to dive in head first to beach living!!
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