All posts by Brenda Jones

3 Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity

3 Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity | Simplifying The Market

If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years as home prices skyrocketed and you made your monthly mortgage payments. Home equity builds over time and can help you achieve certain goals. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average borrower with a home loan has almost $300,000 in equity right now.

As you weigh your options, especially in the face of inflation and talk of a recession, it’s important to understand your assets and how you can leverage them. A real estate professional is the best resource to help you understand how much home equity you have and advise you on some of the ways you can use it.  Here are a few examples.

1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

 If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or it’s possible you have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. 

If you want to upgrade your house, you can put your equity toward a down payment on the home of your dreams. And if you’re planning to downsize, you may be surprised that your equity may cover some, if not all, of the cost of your next home. A real estate advisor can help you figure out how much equity you have and how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.

2. Reinvest in Your Current House

According to a recent survey from Point, 39% of homeowners would invest in home improvement projects if they chose to access their equity. This is a great option if you want to change some things about your living space but you aren’t ready to make a move just yet.

Home improvement projects allow you to customize your home to suit your needs and sense of style. Just remember to think ahead with any updates you make, as some renovations add more value to your home and are more likely to appeal to future buyers than others. For example, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows refinishing or replacing wood flooring has a high cost recovery. Lean on a local professional for the best advice on which projects to invest in to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell.

3. Pursue Your Personal Goals

In addition to making a move or updating your house, home equity can also help you achieve the life goals you’ve dreamed of. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retiring or downsizing, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging it to start a business or putting it toward education costs can help you achieve other lifelong goals.

Bottom Line

Your equity can be a game changer. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect so you can start planning your next move.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Your House Could Be the #1 Item on a Homebuyer’s Wish List During the Holidays

Your House Could Be the #1 Item on a Homebuyer’s Wish List During the Holidays | Simplifying The Market

Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“There’s still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.”

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

3. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. Plus, purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are ready to buy.

4. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you. That can help you minimize disruptions, which is especially important this time of year.

5. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. And, many buyers are looking to escape rising rents and avoid falling into the rental trap for another year. As an article from Zillow says:

“Over the next 12 months, rents are expected to grow more than inflation, the stock market and home values.”

Your home could be their ticket to leaving renting behind for good.

Bottom Line

There are still many reasons it makes sense to list your house during the holiday season. Let’s connect to determine if selling now is your best move.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • While there are many financial perks to owning a home, there are also powerful non-financial benefits to consider if you’re thinking about making a move.
  • Homeownership allows you to express yourself, gives you greater privacy and comfort, enhances your connection to your community and loved ones, and is an achievement to feel proud of.
  • Let’s connect today to discuss all that homeownership has to offer.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re likely trying to juggle your needs, current mortgage rates, home prices, your schedule, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market.

If this sounds like you, here’s one key factor that could help you with your decision: there are more homes for sale today than there were at this time last year. According to Calculated Risk, for the week ending in November 18th, there were 47.7% more homes available for sale than there were at the same time in 2021. And having more options for your home search may be exactly what you need to feel confident about making a move.

Here’s a look at where the increased housing supply is coming from so you can get a better sense of what’s happening in the market today and what it means for you.

What Caused the Growth in Housing Inventory This Year?

The increase we’ve seen in housing supply this year isn’t from the source you think it is. Rather than an influx of recent homeowners listing their houses for sale (known as new listings), the primary reason the supply has grown is because homes are staying on the market a bit longer (known as active listings).

That’s happening because higher mortgage rates and home prices have helped moderate the peak frenzy of buyer demand, which has slowed down the pace of sales. And, as the pace of sales has eased, inventory has grown as a result.

The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show that it’s active listings, not new listings, that have driven the growth we’ve seen over the past few months:

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | Simplifying The Market

And while overall inventory gains may slow down this winter due to typical housing market seasonality, you still have a chance to capitalize on the current supply.

What This Means for Your Home Search

Regardless of the source, the increase in available housing supply is good for buyers. More homes available for sale means you have more options to choose from as you search for your next home, and you may even have more time to consider them.

So, if you tried to buy a home last year and lost out in a bidding war or just couldn’t find something you liked, this may be the news you’ve been waiting for. If you start your search today, those additional options should make it less difficult to find a home you love, especially as some other buyers pause their search this holiday season.

Just remember, housing supply is still low overall, so it won’t suddenly be easy – it’ll just be less challenging than it was at this time last year. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“Despite this improvement in the number of homes actively for sale, active listings still lag their pre-pandemic levels.”

The increase in housing supply helps put you in a great position to kick off the new year in your dream home. And who better to help you find it than a trusted, local real estate professional?

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to jump into the housing market and see what’s available in our local area, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

What Homeowners Want To Know About Selling in Today’s Market

What Homeowners Want To Know About Selling in Today’s Market | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re likely hearing about the cooling housing market and wondering what that means for you. While it’s not the peak intensity we saw during the pandemic, we’re still in a sellers’ market. That means you haven’t missed your window. Realtor.com explains:

“. . . while prospective home sellers may lament that they missed their prime window, in reality, this is still a terrific time to sell. In fact, according to a recent Realtor.com® home seller survey, 95% of sellers who sold their home in the past year got more than they paid for it.

Nonetheless, some of the more prominent pandemic trends have changed, so sellers might wish to adjust accordingly to get the best deal possible.”

The key to success today is being realistic and working with a trusted real estate advisor who can help you set your expectations based on where the market is now, not where it was over the past few years.

Here are a few things experts say today’s sellers need to consider.

Be Willing To Negotiate

At the peak of the pandemic frenzy, sellers held all the leverage because inventory was at record lows and buyers were willing to enter bidding wars over homes that were available. This year, the supply of homes for sale has increased as the market cooled. Even though inventory is still low overall, buyers today have more options, and with that comes more negotiation power.

As a seller, that means you may see more buyers getting an inspection, requesting repairs, or asking for help with closing costs today. You need to be prepared to have those conversations. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

“Today’s market is different than it was just six months ago. . . Sellers that want the contract to move forward should be willing to work with the buyer. . . Consider helping with the closing costs or addressing many of the items on the home inspection list.”

Price Your Home at Market Value

It’s not just that the number of homes for sale has grown this year. Buyer demand has also pulled back in light of higher mortgage rates. As a result, pricing your house appropriately so you can catch the eyes of serious buyers is important. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:

Price your home realistically. This isn’t the housing market of April or May, so buyer traffic will be substantially slower, but appropriately priced homes are still selling quickly.”

You don’t want to overreach with your price and deter buyers. At the same time, you don’t want to undervalue your home and leave money on the table. This is another area where an agent’s expertise comes in handy.

Think About Your First Impression on Buyers

Buyers have more options and are more particular about their investment since it costs more to buy a home given today’s mortgage rates. As a result, you need to make sure your house shows well. As an article from realtor.com says:

To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.”

This could include everything from staging the home, to making small cosmetic updates, tackling repairs, or undergoing renovations. A trusted real estate professional will help you assess what may be worthwhile to do compared to other recently sold homes in your area.

Bottom Line

To sum it all up, your house should still sell today and move quickly if you’re realistic about today’s market. As a press release from Zillow puts it:

. . . sellers need to do things right to attract the attention of these buyers — pricing their home competitively and making their listing attractive to online home shoppers.”

For expert advice on how to quickly sell your house in a shifting market, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time | Simplifying The Market

This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. All of this is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has doubled this year, severely limiting homebuying power for consumers. And, this month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the high 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.

Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates

As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

The housing market is expected to face continued uncertainty heading into 2023 as consumers, financial markets, and policymakers work through their respective challenges in today’s economy. . . . we are watching for any additional stability in the MBS market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”

What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?

As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says:

My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”

As we look toward next year, we certainly hope he’s right.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates will come down – it’s just a matter of time. The hope is we continue to see more positive news on inflation, and that’ll bring mortgage rates down. This will give prospective homebuyers more buying power and lead to more homeowners throughout the country.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional. [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional. [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • You may be wondering what needs to be renovated before you sell your house. In today’s shifting market, making your house appealing is more important than ever.
  • That’s why it’s essential to lean on a real estate professional who has in-depth knowledge of today’s housing market. They know what buyers are looking for and how to highlight any upgrades you make.
  • Let’s connect so you know where to focus your efforts so your house will stand out in a today’s market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today

More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home and living with siblings, parents, or grandparents, then multigenerational living may be for you. The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. And the number of individuals choosing multigenerational living has increased over the past 50 years.

As you consider this option for your own home search, know it could help you on your homeownership journey and provide you with other incredible benefits along the way.

Living with Loved Ones Could Help You Achieve Your Homeownership Goals

There are several reasons people choose to live in a multigenerational household, and for many, the arrangement is a personal one. But according to the Pew Research Center, the top reason people choose to live together today is financial.

A recent study from Freddie Mac also finds more people are choosing to buy a home together so they can save money in the homebuying process. As the study says:

“. . . an increasing percentage of young adult first-time homebuyers are relying on support from older generations, including their parents, to buy a home together.

For these individuals, combining their resources can help them achieve their dream of buying and owning a home. By pooling their incomes together to make that purchase, they may be able to afford a home they couldn’t on their own.

Other Key Benefits of Multigenerational Living

Not to mention, living in a home with loved ones can have other benefits too, like giving you more quality time to spend together. Darla Mercado, Certified Financial Planner and Markets Editor for CNBC.com, explains how this living arrangement can help on a personal and financial level:

“Residing with relatives can offer advantages . . . you can pool multiple streams of income, for instance. And in households with young children, grandparents can pitch in with child care.

If this sounds like a great option for you, it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional to discuss your needs. They can help you navigate the process to find the right home for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

More people are discovering the benefits of multigenerational living. For the best information and help deciding what’s right for your personal situation, let’s connect and start the conversation today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market:

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | Simplifying The Market

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search | Simplifying The Market

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. If you’re willing to work with a trusted agent to consider a newly built home, you may have even more options and incentives than you realize. That may be why the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the share of buyers looking for new construction is increasing:

“According to the quarterly Housing Trends Report, the popularity of new construction homes is continuing to rebound . . .”

Here’s a few reasons more buyers may be drawn to newly built homes.

More Options To Choose from and Potential Builder Incentives

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes has increased this year, it’s still below more typical years like 2019. Currently, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace. For reference, a roughly 6-month supply is considered a balanced market, leaving us in a sellers’ market today.

While it’s a smaller segment of the overall inventory of homes for sale, the supply of newly built homes has grown even more. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

New single-family home inventory remained elevated at a 9.2 months’ supply (of varying stages of construction). A measure near a 6 months’ supply is considered balanced.”

Here’s why this matters for you. While you have more homes to choose from in either category, there’s one extra benefit of newly built homes. Because the inventory of newly built homes has grown so much, builders are motivated to sell their properties before they build more.

Back in the housing crash of 2008, builders were building too many homes, and that oversupply is part of what contributed to the housing bubble bursting. Now, builders don’t want to have a surplus of inventory in their pipeline, and many are offering buyers incentives to help move that inventory along. As Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains:

“. . . a continual increase in the number of completed homes available for sale is now occurring, with the inventories of such homes now at the highest level since July 2020. . . . This suggests to us that builders may be increasingly willing to offer more aggressive incentives and discounts to maintain sales of completed inventory.”

While specifics will vary by builder and market, some buyers are seeing builders reduce prices and offer incentives. To find out what’s available in your area, lean on a trusted real estate professional.

Lifestyle Benefits of Buying a Newly Built Home

In addition to more supply and the potential for builder incentives, newly built homes have various benefits that may suit your lifestyle. For example, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. That can free up time for you to do other things you’re passionate about.

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s brand new and uniquely yours from day one. You’ll have all new appliances, windows, roofing, and more. These things can help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time. You may even have the latest and greatest technology features built into your new home.

Builder sums up why some buyers today are turning to newly built homes:

“For some, it’s the lure of something new and modern. For others, it’s the move-in ready experience. And now there’s another factor to consider when making this decision: technology.”

If any of these benefits appeal to you, it’s time to connect with a trusted real estate advisor to learn more.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering a newly built home, let’s connect so you have an expert guide on what’s available in our local market. Together we’ll explore your options and the benefits of an all-new home.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters