At Home in the Modern World

At Home in the Modern World
This New Prefab Manufacturer Is Making Modular “Haciendas” in Texas Starting at $249K Award-winning Texan architecture studio Lake|Flato has partnered with developer Oaxaca Interests to create HiFAB, a new venture producing homes smaller than 2000 square feet. The modular home sector has boomed in …

* View the article originally published here. ** More curations: Al Cannistra at San Antonio ONE here.

Here’s to a Wonderful 2023!

Here's to a Wonderful 2023! | Simplifying The Market

Here's to a Wonderful 2023! | Simplifying The Market

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro.

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro | Simplifying The Market

With higher mortgage rates and moderating buyer demand, conditions in the housing market are different today. And if you’re thinking of selling your house, it’s important to understand how the market has changed and what that means for you. The best way to make sure you’re in the know is to work with a trusted housing market expert.

Here are five reasons working with a professional can ensure you’ll get the most out of your sale.

1. A Real Estate Advisor Is an Expert on Market Trends

Leslie Rouda Smith, 2022 President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“During challenging and changing market conditions, one thing that’s calming and constant is the assurance that comes from a Realtor® being in your corner through every step of the home transaction. Consumers can rely on Realtors®’ unmatched work ethic, trusted guidance and objectivity to help manage the complexities associated with the home buying and selling process.”

An expert real estate advisor has the latest information about national trends and your local area too. More importantly, they’ll know what all of this means for you so they’ll be able to help you make a decision based on trustworthy, data-bound information.

2. A Local Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House

Home price appreciation has moderated this year. If you sell your house on your own, you may be more likely to overshoot your asking price because you’re not as aware of where prices are today. If you do, you run the risk of deterring buyers or seeing your house sit on the market for longer.

Real estate professionals provide an unbiased eye when they help you determine a price for your house. They’ll use a variety of factors, like the condition of your home and any upgrades you’ve made, and compare your house to recently sold homes in your area to find the best price for today’s market. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move as quickly as possible.

3. A Real Estate Advisor Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers

Since buyer demand has cooled this year, you’ll want to do what you can to help bring in more buyers. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house gets in front of people looking to make a purchase. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home.”

Without access to the tools and your agent’s marketing expertise, your buyer pool – and your home’s selling potential – is limited.

4. A Real Estate Expert Will Read – and Understand – the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. NAR explains it like this:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what all the fine print means and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

5. A Trusted Advisor Is a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, buyers are also regaining some negotiation power as bidding wars ease. If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be responsible for any back-and-forth. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all the above parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

Bottom Line

Don’t go at it alone. If you’re planning to sell your house this winter, let’s connect so you have an expert by your side to guide you in today’s market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

 Our Guest Author Today:  Mike Bailey 

A serene home covered in snow.

To an inexperienced seller, when you list your home might sound all the same. After all, you want to sell your home as soon as possible, so why should you be picky? However, just like the seasons, the housing market shifts. Many aspects can affect the state of the market. Consequently, you might find it harder to sell during a specific part of the year than during another. You may have doubts and questions about selling your home this winter. Therefore, let’s cover the pros and cons of property selling during the holiday season.

Should I sell right now or wait?

Overall, there was a steep rise in the housing market in 2022. That means that selling your home can be very profitable regardless of the season. Due to the effects of the pandemic, many investors have paused building new properties. The costs of building materials and buildable land have skyrocketed. This led to profits from selling barely outweighing the costs of building a new property. That led to the supply in terms of properties becoming more limited. On the other hand, the demand for residential properties remains high. That means now is a perfect time to sell your property at a great price, regardless of the season.

However, selling in winter is a bit of a different experience than selling during warmer seasons. Some aspects can affect your chances of selling your home quickly. On the other hand, there are also things to consider to increase your chances of selling. Let’s discuss this in a bit more detail.

Will I find fewer buyers in winter?

This may be one of the top questions about selling your home this winter. Traditionally, winter has always been the slowest season for selling residential property. The colder temperatures and snowy weather make it more difficult to travel. This, in turn, makes inspecting homes much more difficult for homebuyers. That is why many house hunters choose to do house tours in spring or summer. However, with the current state of the market, this is so much the case anymore. 

With the real estate demands being so high, many buyers deliberately choose the winter period to house hunt. They do this to avoid the competition that comes in warmer seasons. Less competition means fewer bidding wars. In the end, this can help them buy the house they want for a much better price.

Another reason people choose to house hunt in winter is spare time. Winter is a holiday season, and many people take time off work. They use this time to tour listed homes while the competition is reduced. This also works favorably for you as a seller. You, too, will have more time to organize house showings for interested buyers.

However, one issue that comes with buying a house in winter is moving into it right after. The experts at Maximus Moving & Delivery say that moving in winter is riskier than doing so in warmer seasons. The ice and snow can make roads unsafe for vehicles. Many homebuyers are aware of this risk and would choose to wait out the winter. Depending on where you are, you might be having lots of snow or barely any. This can vastly affect the number of buyers you will see in winter.

Should I get a real estate agent?

A real estate agent serves to help reduce the workload that comes with listing a house. Their job is to find you serious buyers and have your home sold in the shortest amount of time. However, with the current state of the housing market, do you need one? If this is one of your questions about selling your home this winter, the short answer is “yes.”

Listing a house for sale is a lot of work, regardless of the season. If you have no experience with house selling, know it will take a lot of your time. You will have to organize house tours or open house days. You will need to always be available to answer questions from buyers. Additionally, many buyers contacting you won’t be seriously interested in the house. Weeding through the homebuyers to find serious can be very time-consuming. That is why having a real estate agent is so beneficial.

Real estate agents are well acquainted with the housing market’s current state. They can help you price your house correctly to earn maximum profit. In addition, they can handle all the customer interactions for you and weed out non-serious buyers. Real estate agents also conduct house tours in your stead. This is highly convenient if your house is far from where you currently live. You won’t have to drive to your home whenever you organize a tour. 

There are also benefits to hiring a real estate agent in winter. Agents take on multiple clients at once, and more people are listing their properties for sale in warmer seasons. Your agent’s time will be more limited depending on the number of clients they work for. However, in winter, this is much less of an issue. Because fewer people are selling during the slow season, your agent’s schedule will be freer. They can dedicate more time and attention to you and your customers. This means that more house tours can be organized, increasing the chances of selling your home.

Final thoughts

As you can see, selling your house in winter can be a very smart move. Making use of the reduced competition can attract more customers to you.  In addition, it is easier to find serious buyers during this period. Because winter is the season of holidays, many people are off work. That means that they will have more time to house hunt. Many homebuyers like to make use of this period in the hope of finding an affordable home. And, with reduced competition, the chances of entering a bidding war are much lower. These were some of the key questions about selling your home this winter. 

Bio: Mike Bailey is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing articles regarding real estate. His favorite topic is writing articles with tips and tricks for inexperienced home sellers. 

MM01 tiny house makes space for work and play with clever interior layout

MM01 tiny house makes space for work and play with clever interior layout
The MM01 was commissioned by two people who use it as a vacation home and base for outdoor activities in rural Austria. Its interior is very compact, …

* View the article originally published here. ** More curations: Al Cannistra at San Antonio ONE here.

Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers

Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

Are you prepping to buy your first home? If so, one of the steps you should take early on is making sure you’re financially ready for your purchase. Here are just a few of the financial fundamentals you’ll need to focus on as you set out to buy a home.

Build Your Credit

Your credit is one element that helps determine which home loan you’ll qualify for. It also impacts your mortgage interest rate. While there are many factors that go into your mortgage application, a higher credit score could lead to a lower monthly payment in the long run.

So how do you make sure your credit is in the best shape possible when it’s time to buy? A recent article from NerdWallet lists a few tips you can use as you work to build and strengthen your credit. They include:

  • Tracking your credit and disputing any errors that show up on your reports.
  • Paying your bills on time. This includes making loan payments and paying down any open lines of credit.
  • Keeping your credit card balances low. Paying more than your minimum monthly balance when you’re able can help.

Automate Your Savings for Your House Fund

You might also be wondering how you can achieve your down payment savings goals. Bankrate provides buyers with a number of tips to help you save, including searching for down payment assistance programs and ways you can save more, faster. As the article says:

“One of the best ways to save for anything — including a down payment — is to set it and forget it. If you receive a regular paycheck, ask your employer to direct a portion of that payment into a savings account. If you’re a freelance worker or independent contractor, set up a recurring transfer from a checking account to a savings account to establish the routine.”

Get Pre-Approved

As you prepare for your purchase, you’ll also need to have a good grasp on your budget and how much you’ll be able to borrow for your home loan. That’s where the pre-approval process comes in.

Pre-approval from a lender lets you know how much money you can borrow for your home loan. And having that knowledge, plus an understanding of your savings, can help you decide on your target price range for a house.

From there, you can start browsing for houses online and see what’s available in your area in that general price point. This can help you really understand your options so you can start to picture your future home.

For Customized Advice, Build a Team of Professionals

Finally, the best way to make you’re prepared for your purchase is to connect with trusted real estate professionals. Having expert advisors in the industry will help you make strong decisions throughout the homebuying process based on your specific goals, finances, and situation. They know the market and can guide you toward the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to get the homebuying process started, let’s connect so you can begin to build your team of professionals today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You?

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You? | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage rates have been a hot topic in the housing market over the past 12 months. Compared to the beginning of 2022, rates have risen dramatically. Now they’re dropping, and that has to do with everything happening in the economy.

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains it well by saying:

Mortgage rates dropped even further this week as two main factors affecting today’s mortgage market became more favorable. Inflation continued to ease while the Federal Reserve switched to a smaller interest rate hike. As a result, according to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.31% from 6.33% the previous week.”

So, what does that mean for your homeownership plans? As mortgage rates fluctuate, they impact your purchasing power by influencing the cost of buying a home. Even a small dip can help boost your purchasing power. Here’s how it works.

The median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is $379,100. So, let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home. If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates move up or down (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You? | Simplifying The Market

This goes to show, even a small quarter-point change in mortgage rates can impact your monthly mortgage payment. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional who follows what the experts are projecting for mortgage rates for the days, months, and year ahead.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are likely to fluctuate depending on what happens with inflation moving forward, but they have dropped slightly in recent weeks. If a 7% rate was too high for you, it may be time to contact a lender to see if the current rate is more in line with your goal for a monthly housing expense.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

2023 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC]

2023 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

2023 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • From home sales to prices, the 2023 housing market will be defined by mortgage rates. And where rates go depends on what happens with inflation.
  • If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home this year, let’s connect so you understand where the housing market is headed in 2023.


Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move.

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about retirement or have already retired this year, you may be planning your next steps. One of your goals could be selling your house and finding a home that more closely fits your needs.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few things to think about when making that decision.

Consider How Long You’ve Been in Your Home

From 1985 to 2008, the average length of time homeowners typically stayed in their homes was only six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is rising today, meaning many homeowners are living in their houses even longer (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | Simplifying The Market

When you live in a home for a significant period of time, it’s natural for you to experience a number of changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

Consider the Equity You’ve Gained

Additionally, if you’ve been in your home for more than a few years, you’ve likely built up significant equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because the longer you’ve been in your home, the more likely it’s grown in value due to home price appreciation. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | Simplifying The Market

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by over 50%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home for 30 years saw it almost triple in value over that time.

Consider Your Retirement Goals

Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or move so you live closer to loved ones, that equity can help you achieve your homeownership goals. NAR shares that for recent home sellers, the primary reason to move was to be closer to loved ones. Plus, retirement played a large role for those moving greater distances.

Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can work with you to find the best option. They’ll help you sell your current house and guide you as you buy the home that’s right for you and your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

Retirement can bring about major changes in your life, including what you need from your home. Let’s connect to explore your opportunities in our local market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

What Every Seller Should Know About Home Prices

What Every Seller Should Know About Home Prices | Simplifying The Market

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to sell your house, recent headlines about home prices may be top of mind. And if those stories have you wondering what that means for your home’s value, here’s what you really need to know.

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices?

It’s possible you’ve seen news stories mentioning a drop in home values or home price depreciation, but it’s important to remember those headlines are designed to make a big impression in just a few words. But what headlines aren’t always great at is painting the full picture.

While home prices are down slightly month-over-month in some markets, it’s also true that home values are up nationally on a year-over-year basis. The graph below uses the latest data from S&P Case-Shiller to help tell the story of what’s actually happening in the housing market today:

What Every Seller Should Know About Home Prices | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, it’s true home price growth has moderated in recent months (shown in green) as buyer demand has pulled back in response to higher mortgage rates. This is what the headlines are drawing attention to today.

But what’s important to notice is the bigger, longer-term picture. While home price growth is moderating month-over-month, the percent of appreciation year-over-year is still well above the home price change we saw during more normal years in the market.

The bars for January 2019 through mid-2020 show home price appreciation around 3-4% a year was more typical (see bars for January 2019 through mid-2020). But even the latest data for this year shows prices have still climbed by roughly 10% over last year.

What Does This Mean for Your Home’s Equity?

While you may not be able to capitalize on the 20% appreciation we saw in early 2022, in most markets your home’s value, on average, is up 10% over last year – and a 10% gain is still dramatic compared to a more normal level of appreciation (3-4%).

The big takeaway? Don’t let the headlines get in the way of your plans to sell. Over the past two years alone, you’ve likely gained a substantial amount of equity in your home as home prices climbed. Even though home price moderation will vary by market moving forward, you can still use the boost your equity got to help power your move.

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

Potential home sellers gained significant amounts of equity over the pandemic, so even as affordability-constrained buyer demand spurs price declines in some markets, potential sellers are unlikely to lose all that they have gained.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about home prices or how much equity you have in your current home, let’s connect so you have an expert’s advice.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

24’ Weekender is the Perfect Nomadic Tiny Home on Wheels

24’ Weekender is the Perfect Nomadic Tiny Home on Wheels
True to its name, the Weekender is a gorgeous, fully functional 24’ Perfect Nomadic Tiny Home on wheels, oozing a certain kind of Nomadic charm and …

* View the article originally published here. ** More curations: Al Cannistra at San Antonio ONE here.

Reasons To Sell Your House This Season [INFOGRAPHIC]

Reasons To Sell Your House This Season [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Reasons To Sell Your House This Season [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re planning to make a move but aren’t sure if now’s the right time, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.
  • The supply of homes for sale, while growing, is still low today. Plus, serious buyers are out looking right now, and many are hoping to avoid falling into the rental trap for another year.
  • Let’s connect to determine if selling your house before the new year is the right move for you.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Homeownership Is an Investment in Your Future

Homeownership Is an Investment in Your Future | Simplifying The Market

There are many people thinking about buying a home, but with everything affecting the economy, some are wondering if it’s a smart decision to buy now or if it makes more sense to wait it out. As Bob Broeksmit, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains:

The desire for homeownership is strong. Many prospective buyers are waiting for the volatility in mortgage rates to subside, as well as for a clearer picture of the economic outlook.”

If you’re in that position, remember that it’s important to consider not just what’s happening today but also what benefits you may gain in the long run.

There’s a lot of information out there about how homeownership helps build a homeowner’s net worth over time. But even today, many people think first about things like 401(k)s before they think of owning a home as a wealth-building tool. It’s especially important if you’re a young prospective homebuyer to understand how homeownership is another key way to invest in your future. An article from Bloomberg notes:

“Millennials have higher average 401(k) balances than Generation X did when they were the same age, but they’re not any better off financially. . . . A lot of that has to do with being less likely to own a home.”

To help you understand just how much owning a home can have a positive impact on your life over the years, take a look at what the data shows. The same Bloomberg article helps show the gap in wealth between renters and homeowners who are 65 years and older (see graph below). The difference is substantial, even when incomes are similar.

Homeownership Is an Investment in Your Future | Simplifying The Market

So, if you want to create wealth to help set you up for success later on, it may be time to prioritize homeownership. That’s because, whether you decide to rent or buy a home, you’ll have a monthly housing expense either way. The question is: are you going to invest in yourself and your future, or will you help someone else (your landlord) increase their wealth?

Bottom Line

Before putting your homeownership plans on hold, let’s connect to go over your options. That way, you’ll have expert advice on how to make the best decision right now and the best investment in your future.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer in Today’s Market

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer in Today’s Market | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying mortgage rates are higher now than they were last year. And if you’re thinking about buying a home, this may be top of mind for you. That’s because those higher rates impact how much it costs to borrow money for your home loan. As you set out to make a purchase this winter, you’ll need to be strategic so you can find a home that meets your needs and budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at, explains:

“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be given the diminished purchasing power.”

In other words, it’s important to be mindful of what’s a necessity and what’s a nice-to-have when searching for a home. And the best way to understand this is to put together a list of desired features for your home search.

The first step? Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand what you can borrow for your home loan, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s out of reach. Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list (and prioritize) all the features of a home you would like.

Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.).
  • Dream State – This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Putting together your list of necessary features for your next home might seem like a small task, but it’s a crucial first step on your homebuying journey today. If you’re ready to find a home that fits your needs, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Winter Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

Winter Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Winter Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • As you get ready to sell your house, focus on tasks that make it inviting, show it’s cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • This list will help you get started, but don’t forget, a real estate professional will provide other helpful tips based on your specific situation.
  • Let’s connect so you have advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

What You Want To Know If You’re Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership

What You Want To Know If You’re Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

If you’re a young adult, you may be thinking about your goals and priorities for the months and years ahead. And if homeownership ranks high on your goal sheet, you’re in good company. Many of your peers are also pursuing their dream of owning a home. The 2022 Millennial & Gen Z Borrower Sentiment Report from Maxwell says:

“Many young adults have demonstrated their resolve to embark on the journey toward homeownership soon. More than half of millennials and Gen Zs plan to apply for a mortgage sometime within the next year.”

Let’s take a look at why homeownership makes the top of so many young buyers’ to-do list and what you need to consider to achieve your goals if you’re one of them.

Top Motivators To Buy a Home

Before you start the homebuying process, it’s helpful to know why homeownership is so important to you. The survey mentioned above sheds light on some of the top reasons why younger generations are looking to buy a home. It finds:

No matter which of these resonates the most with you, know there are many financial and non-financial reasons why you may want to buy a home. While your top motivator may be different than that of your friends, they’re all equally valid and worthwhile.

Key Obstacles and How To Overcome Them

Whether your homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or both), it can still be hard to know where to start when you’re looking to buy a home. From understanding the homebuying process, to getting pre-approved, and exploring down payment options, it’s a lot to wrap your head around.

The same Maxwell survey also reveals key challenges for potential buyers. Thankfully, the knowledge and guidance of a trusted real estate professional can help you overcome both. Here’s a look at two of the hurdles potential homebuyers say they face:

1. The Mortgage Process Can Be Intimidating

In the Maxwell study, 33.37% said one of their obstacles was that the mortgage process is confusing or difficult to understand.

An article by OwnUp helps explain why the mortgage process is so challenging for buyers:

“There is a general lack of knowledge about home financing. Mortgages are a complicated topic with no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s difficult to understand the space, let alone determine what the right course of action is based on your unique financial picture.

While you may be tempted to do a quick search online to find instant answers to your questions, it may not get you the information you need to understand the full picture. Especially when it comes to financial advice, you want to lean on a true expert. Having trusted professionals on your side can help you to learn what it takes to achieve your dream of homeownership. Not to mention, an expert can give you advice specific to your situation, not generic advice like you’ll find online.

2. It’s Hard To Know How Much You Need To Save

In the Maxwell study, 45.75% believe they don’t have enough saved to cover their down payment or closing cost expenses.

What you may not realize is that, today, there’s a growing number of down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. A report from Down Payment Resource says:

“Our Q3 2022 HPI report revealed a 1.6% uptick in the number of homebuyer assistance programs available to help people finance homes, raising the number of programs to 2,309, a net increase of 36 over the previous quarter.”

Additionally, as the housing market cools, buyers are regaining some negotiation power and more sellers are willing to work with buyers to help with closing costs.  Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help you achieve your dream of homeownership faster than you thought possible.

Bottom Line

If you’re serious about becoming a homeowner, know it may be more in reach than you think. Lean on trusted professionals to help you overcome challenges and prioritize your next steps.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

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

* This article was originally published here

Real Estate Negotiation Tips for First-Time Buyers

 Our Guest Author Today:  Mary A. Neil

A buyer receiving a key to their new home.

In recent years, the prices of homes have skyrocketed. This is one of the factors affecting home affordability today and why you must prepare a big budget for purchasing a home. Furthermore, you also have to consider home repairs and updates and future expenses. So, it's no wonder homebuyers are trying to use every trick in the book to negotiate better prices. The good news is that home prices are negotiable. Sellers usually list their homes at higher prices to compensate for this. Therefore, as a first-time buyer, you shouldn't fall into the trap of paying more than a property is worth. But how do you do that when you don't have the proper knowledge and experience? Here are some real estate negotiation tips for first-time buyers.

1 Hire a realtor

One of the best tips for first-time homebuyers is to hire a realtor. Yes, you're trying to save money, and this is an additional cost, but it's worth it. You should drop the misconception that a realtor does nothing more than find you a home. Here are some other benefits:

A professional knows the market well and can provide you with valuable information. This can include everything from information about the neighborhood to property appreciation and taxes.

A realtor has the knowledge, experience, and skills to negotiate a better price for you. In other words, they are objective. Their emotions don't influence in any way the home-buying process.

An expert will advise you on the essential contingencies you should include in your offer. Furthermore, they can draft all the paperwork.

A realtor showing a home to first-time buyers
One of the best real estate negotiation tips for first-time buyers is to hire a realtor.

2 One of the best real estate negotiation tips for first-time buyers is to get to know the market

Hiring a realtor is the easiest way to go. However, if you decide to do it independently, you must do some thorough research. Firstly, you should know what the market has to offer. For instance, there might be more houses than apartments for sale. But moving from an apartment to a house entails higher costs and a lot of work. So, you should be ready for the change and make sure you can afford it.

Secondly, you should identify the average prices of homes in the neighborhood. If you've already set your heart on a certain property, take a look at the prices of comparable properties. This will help you determine the fair price. 

Thirdly, you should do some research to determine if you're dealing with a buyer's or a seller's market. If more buyers are looking for homes than the number of homes on the market, you'll have less room to negotiate. The sellers will get many offers, so they have no reason to lower the price too much. However, you can negotiate a great price in a seller's market better. 

3 Know your budget

One of the best real estate negotiation tips for first-time buyers is to know your budget. It doesn't matter if you're a great negotiator if you can't afford the home you want. Yes, you can negotiate a lower price, but don't expect to get a home for half the asking price. Moreover, sellers usually request proof that you can afford their property. That's why pre-approval is a critical first step on your home-buying journey. A pre-approval letter will inform you and the seller of the mortgage amount you can get. As a result, you'll be able to submit a realistic offer and negotiate accordingly.

A broker providing a pre-approval letter to his clients.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before placing an offer on a home.

4 Don't underestimate the power of a home inspection

One of the first-time buyers' most significant mistakes is skipping the home inspection to reduce costs. But the truth is that this mistake can end up costing you more than you can imagine. Even if a property looks great, it can have major hidden issues. And fixing them can cost you a small fortune. According to the consultants from, that money would be better spent on moving services and updates to your home.

Nevertheless, the best part about the home inspection is that it can help you negotiate a better price. Just make sure you include a home inspection contingency in your offer. This way, if the inspector finds major issues, you have several options: 

Negotiate a lower price to compensate for the repairs;

Request the seller to take care of the repairs;

Back out of the deal.

5 Negotiate wisely

Another great tip for first-time homebuyers is to negotiate wisely. Don't start with an offer that is way below the asking price. You don't want the seller to think you're wasting their time. At the same time, you should make sure you don't offer more than you can afford. This can easily happen if you fall in love with a home and your emotions get the best of you. If the seller is not willing lower the price, there's no shame in walking away from that property.

6 Get to know the seller

Get to know the seller while viewing the property. On the one hand, you can ask why they are selling. Because if they are having financial troubles or have to move out because of a divorce, they'll probably want to sell faster. As a result, you'll have more room to negotiate. 

Two sellers and two buyers getting to know each other.
Get to know the seller to make more room for negotiation.

On the other hand, you can get a bit personal during the negotiation. For instance, you can share the features you love most about the home. Or you can tell the seller how you would like to restore the property. After all, every homeowner wants to find a buyer to take care of their home.

Final thoughts

Buying your first home is a big decision and a significant investment. And since homes don't come cheap, you should always try to negotiate a better price. You can make some home updates or use the money you save for future mortgage payments. However, since you don't have any experience in the field, you should consider hiring a realtor. But if you're adamant about doing it on your own, use these real estate negotiation tips for first-time buyers. 

Author bio: 

Mary A. Neil has been working as a content writer for many years. She bought her first home six years ago and has first-hand experience with how challenging the entire process can be. That’s why she tries to give a helping hand to first-time homebuyers by sharing tips and tricks with them. She enjoys spending her free time in nature.

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