Friday, January 21, 2022

Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • According to a Gallup poll, real estate has been rated the best long-term investment for eight years in a row.
  • Real estate tops the list because you’re not just buying a place to call home – you’re investing in your future. Real estate is typically considered a stable and secure asset that can grow in value over time.
  • Let’s connect today if you’re ready to make real estate your best investment this year.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low?

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | Simplifying The Market

One key question that’s top of mind for homebuyers this year is: why is it so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we’re in the ultimate sellers’ market, so real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, it’s a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here’s a look at two reasons why today’s housing supply is low and what that means for you.

1. New Home Construction Fell Behind for Several Years

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven’t been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit going into the pandemic.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | Simplifying The Market

2. The Pandemic’s Impact on the Housing Market

Then, when the pandemic hit, it fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, school, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates to secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. At the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. A recent article from realtor.com explains:

Last month, the number of home listings dropped 26.8% compared with the same time a year earlier. This meant there were about 177,000 fewer homes listed in what’s already typically a slower month due to the holidays and colder weather. . . .”

What Does All of This Mean for You?

For a buyer, low inventory can be a challenge. You want to find the home of your dreams, and you don’t want to settle. But what if there just aren’t that many homes to choose from?

There is some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will soon become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective:

We expect that we’ll start to see a turnaround and inventory will stabilize and start to go up a little bit in 2022. . . . But that means we’re looking at inventory levels of roughly half of what we saw before the pandemic. For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, you want to jump on it right away.

Basically, inventory is still low, even though more homes are coming. But you shouldn’t put your plans on hold because you’re waiting for those additional houses to hit the market.  Instead, stick with your search and persevere through today’s low inventory. You can find your next home if you’re patient and focused.

Remember your goals and why finding a home is so important. Those things should be the driving force behind your search. Share them with your agent and be clear about your priorities. Your trusted advisor is your greatest support as you navigate today’s low housing supply to find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line 

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience given today’s low inventory. Let’s connect to discuss what’s happening in our area, what homes are available, and why it’s still worthwhile to prioritize your home search today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, January 17, 2022

Achieving the Dream of Homeownership

Achieving the Dream of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

Homeownership has long been considered the American Dream, and it’s one every American should feel confident and powerful pursuing. But owning a home is also a deeply personal dream. Our home provides us with safety and security, and it’s a place where we can grow and flourish.

Today, we remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many of us will remember his passion and determination for the causes he championed, including his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. As we reflect on his message today, it may inspire your own dream of homeownership. And if so, know you’re not alone. With a trusted real estate advisor at your side, you can begin your journey toward homeownership by answering the questions below.

1. Where Do I Start?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, how much space you need, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can spend.

Then, when you decide you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage. Your lender will look at several factors to determine how much you’re able to borrow, including your credit history. Lenders want to understand how well you’ve managed paying your student loans, credit cards, car loans, and other past debts.

According to Freddie Mac:

“To get a rough estimate of what you can afford, most lenders suggest that you should spend no more than 28% of your monthly gross (pre-tax) income on your mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance.”

2. How Do I Save Enough for a Down Payment?

Speaking of how much you can afford, you’ll want to know what to save for a down payment. While the idea of saving for a down payment can be daunting, there are many different options and resources that can help.

According to Business Insider, automatic savings can bring you one step closer to achieving your target down payment:

“If you receive your paycheck as a direct deposit, you may want to arrange for your company to send a percentage of each check directly into a savings account for the down payment. . . . The automatic-savings strategy makes it so you don’t have to constantly remember to save money.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process. And the best part is, you may need to save less for your down payment than you think. Your agent and lender can help you understand your options.

3. How Can I Reach My Financial Goals?

Another way to increase your savings is by sticking to a planned budget. If you’ve never budgeted before, there are tools available. For example, MoneyFit.org provides a budgeting worksheet you can use to create your own plan and five rules to follow when you’re saving. They recommend you:

  1. Identify Goals
  2. Record Expenses
  3. Record Earnings
  4. Compare and Calculate
  5. Fix Weak Spots

If you’re already budgeting, consider finding ways to tighten your spending a bit more to accelerate your journey to homeownership. After all, putting even a little extra into your savings each month can truly add up over time.

Bottom Line

As you set out to realize your dream of homeownership this year, know that it’s achievable with careful planning. Most importantly, let’s connect today so you don’t have to walk alone on this journey.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Sunday, January 16, 2022

How to Adapt Your New Home to Your Lifestyle

 Guest Author Today:  Martin Horrowitz 

A woman feeding her dog on the sofa.














So, you've moved into your new place, but can't quite say it's your new home? Or, are you planning on moving but are scared you won't easily adapt to the new surroundings? Whatever's the case - we might have something for you. In the text you'll find below, we'll show you how to adapt your new home to your lifestyle. Also, there will be some additional tips on the side that will help you get to know the place you'll call home. Stick around!

Something you're already familiar with (an introduction)

We can talk for hours about how the pandemic changed our everyday scenery. Don't worry; we'll try to be short. Anyway, one of the most significant consequences (and there are too many to mention) the virus left us is that most people work from their living quarters. Because of this, it's getting harder and harder to differentiate between work and home. Also, this downright unfortunate historical moment gave many folks a chance to think more about their homes. Did you know that Google searches on home improvement options almost doubled in the past two years? As you surely know, there's a good reason why that is so. Anyway, here are some home improvement ideas and other things you can do to create a more homey environment.

A cup of coffee next to a laptop.










It's getting more difficult to differentiate between work 
and home.





If possible, create a home office

While we're on the subject of separating work from home, it might be good to mention this option. We assume you know how hard can it be to focus on work while there are far too many things inside your home that can catch your attention. Whether it's your pet, spouse, or favorite book, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you're not entirely focused. By creating a home office, you'll designate a single room to hold no distractions. The people you're sharing the home with will know when not to disturb you. Your pets might disobey those orders, but the important thing is: you'll have something pretty close to peace.

Explore your new neighborhood

This one doesn't have to do a whole lot with home improvement. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with it. Still, it's crucial for adapting to your new home. By taking long walks around your new neighborhood (or further), you'll get a chance to feel the vibes of the place. Say, for example, you're moving to a new Texas neighborhood. Texans are very hospitable, regardless of the "no trespassing" stereotype. If you want to explore the area with a Texas-native guide, you can ask one of your neighbors to show you around. Next thing you know: you greet the cashiers in the local supermarket by their names, and you know every dog's owner around the block.

A suburban scene from El Paso, Texas.









Getting to know your new neighborhood will help you adapt faster.





Open space concept

Let's go back to those home improvement options. Nowadays, many homeowners (here's how you become one) are saying goodbye to walls. What's the catch? Well, since the pandemic started, things became a bit claustrophobic, and... Okay, okay. Removing walls to make more space isn't something people came up with only two years ago, but it certainly became a trend during the mentioned period. So, you might want to think about opening your rooms up a bit. Research proves that more open space inside one's home leads to better productivity and less stress. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Find another space

Okay, we're back on the street once again. The thing is: if you notice the whole work-from-home isn't working, we've got a cool suggestion. How about you find another space to spend time in, like a local coffee shop or a pub? A change of setting is something we need the most sometimes. Not only will you do that, but you'll also have a chance to meet new friends and establish local connections that will make you feel more at home. They say home is where the heart is.

A group of friends having drinks.









Find a place that locals like to visit (whether it's a diner, coffee shop, or a pub), and mark it as your second home.
 



Design your garden for some unforgettable barbecue parties

Want people to love and accept you? Organize barbecue parties. While this might seem like a pop-psych parody, it's not that far from the truth. An outdoor patio in your backyard will certainly make your new neighbors look across the fence. Some (obscure) studies have shown that folks with beautiful backyards have better social capital (the number of connections and people they know). And who are we to distrust science? Anyway, an old-fashioned housewarming party never hurt anyone. That might be just the thing to get you started. 

How to adapt your new home to your lifestyle - a summary

Let's do a quick walkthrough. So, how do you adapt your new home to your lifestyle? Well, it seems our lifestyles are pretty much directly influenced by coronavirus safety measures. That's why we'll guess that your work from home. Also, we know it can be hard to differentiate between work and home now. To ease the adverse effects, you can designate one of the rooms in your new place as office space. It's already empty and devoid of distractions, so... Another thing: take long walks around the neighborhood and visit places where locals like to go. You can even throw a housewarming party. Before you do that, think about how the lack of open space dictates how you view your home and do something about it by removing some walls. 







Author bio: 

Martin Horrowitz is a Texas-born freelance writer currently working with State to State Move. In his free time, he loves tackling DIY home improvement projects with his kids.