Monday, October 31, 2022

Taking the Fear out of Saving for a Home

Taking the Fear out of Saving for a Home | Simplifying The Market

If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing what to budget for and how to save may sound scary at first. But it doesn’t have to be. One way to take the fear out of budgeting is understanding some of the costs you might encounter.  And to do that, turn to trusted real estate professionals. They can help you plan your finances and prepare your budget.

Here are just a few costs experts say you can expect.

1. Down Payment

Saving for your down payment is likely top of mind as you set out to buy a home. But do you know how much you’ll need to save? While each situation is different, there’s a common misconception that putting 20% down toward your purchase is required. An article from the Mortgage Reports explains why that’s not always the case:

“The idea that you have to put 20% down on a house is a myth. . . . The right amount depends on your current savings and your home buying goals.”

To understand your options, partner with a trusted real estate professional to go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires.

2. Closing Costs

Make sure you also budget for closing costs, which are a collection of fees and payments made to the various people involved in your transaction. Bankrate explains:

Closing costs are the fees you pay when finalizing a real estate transaction, whether you’re refinancing a mortgage or buying a new home. These costs can amount to 2 to 5 percent of the mortgage so it’s important to be financially prepared for this expense.”

The best way to understand what you’ll need at the closing table is to work with a trusted lender. They can provide you with answers to the questions you might have.

3. Earnest Money Deposit

If you want to cover all your bases, you can also consider saving for an earnest money deposit (EMD). An EMD is money you pay as a show of good faith when you make an offer on a house. According to, it’s usually between 1% and 2% of the total home price.

This deposit works like a credit. It’s not an added expense – it’s paying a portion of your costs upfront. You’re using some of the money you already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about their house. describes how it works as part of your sale:

It tells the real estate seller you’re in earnest as a buyer, . . . . Assuming that all goes well and the buyer’s good-faith offer is accepted by the seller, the earnest money funds go toward the down payment and closing costs. In effect, earnest money is just paying more of the down payment and closing costs upfront.”

Keep in mind, an EMD isn’t required, and it doesn’t guarantee your offer will be accepted. It’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand what’s best for your situation and any specific requirements in your area. They’ll help you determine what moves you should make in the homebuying process to have the greatest success.

Bottom Line

Budgeting for your home purchase doesn’t have to be scary. Let’s connect so you’ll have an expert on your side to answer any questions you have along the way.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Friday, October 28, 2022

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022

Pre-Approval Is a Critical First Step on Your Homebuying Journey

Pre-Approval Is a Critical First Step on Your Homebuying Journey | Simplifying The Market

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, one of the first steps on your journey is getting pre-approved. Especially in today’s market when mortgage rates are higher than they were just a few months ago, getting a mortgage pre-approval can be a game changer. Here’s why.

What Is Pre-Approval?

To better understand why pre-approval is key, it’s important to know what pre-approval is. The Mortgage Reports explains it like this:

“When you’re ready to take the leap into homeownership, your first step is mortgage preapproval. . . . A mortgage preapproval is when a lender determines you’re qualified for a home loan. Your preapproval letter shows the maximum loan amount you’re approved for (your home buying budget), as well as the specific interest rate and loan term you can expect.

As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand your true price range and how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with mortgage rates rising and impacting affordability, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.

Pre-Approval Can Signal You’re a Serious Buyer

Another added benefit is that pre-approval lets the seller know you’re qualified to buy their house. A recent article from notes:

“. . . getting pre-approved can actually improve your chances of falling into the sellers’ good graces, and you’ll want to get it done as early as you possibly can in the home-buying process.”

Even though bidding wars are easing this year as the market shifts, preapproval is still an important part of making a strong offer. It can help a seller feel more confident because it shows you’re serious about their home and that you’re a qualified buyer.

Bottom Line

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is critical. It helps you better understand what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to succeed as a homebuyer in today’s market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Friday, October 21, 2022

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re planning to sell your house this year, you likely have questions about what the shift in the housing market means for your home sale.
  • You might be wondering: Should I wait to sell? Are buyers still out there? And can I afford to buy my next home?
  • Let’s connect so you can get answers to these questions and learn about the opportunities you still have in today’s housing market.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Emotional and Non-financial Benefits of Homeownership

The Emotional and Non-financial Benefits of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

With higher mortgage rates, you might be wondering if now’s the best time to buy a home. While the financial aspects are important to consider, there are also powerful non-financial reasons it may make sense to make a move. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with homeownership.

Homeowners Can Make Their Home Truly Their Own

Owning your home gives you a significant sense of accomplishment because it’s a space you can customize to your heart’s desire. That can bring you added happiness.

In fact, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:

There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area.”

And as a homeowner, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you typically won’t have to worry about the changes you can and can’t make.

If you rent, you may not have the same freedom. And if you do make changes as a renter, there’s a good chance you’ll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out.

The Responsibilities of Homeownership Give You a Greater Sense of Achievement

There’s no denying taking care of your home is a large responsibility, but it’s one you’ll take pride in as a homeowner. Freddie Mac explains:

“As the homeowner, you have the freedom to adopt a pet, paint the walls any color you choose, renovate your kitchen, and more. . . . Of course, along with the freedoms of homeownership come responsibilities, such as making your monthly mortgage payments on time and maintaining your home. But as the property owner, you’ll be caring for your own investment.

You’re not taking care of a living space that belongs to someone else. The space is yours. As an added benefit, you may get a return on investment for any upgrades or repairs you make.

Homeownership Can Lead to Greater Community Engagement

That sense of ownership and your feelings of responsibility can even extend beyond the walls of your home. Your home also gives you a stake in your community. Because the average homeowner stays in their home for longer than just a few years, that can lead to having a stronger connection to your local area. NAR notes how that can benefit you:

“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”

If you’re looking to put down roots, homeownership can help fuel a sense of connection to the area and those around you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey, including the ability to customize your home, the sense of achievement homeownership brings, and a greater connection to your community. Let’s connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Friday, October 14, 2022

7 Big Lessons to Learn From Tiny Home Design

7 Big Lessons to Learn From Tiny Home Design
7 Big Lessons to Learn From Tiny Home Design Acclaimed for being sustainable, affordable, and adorable residences, tiny homes are also superb teachers when it comes to organization and design. With the average tiny home measuring under 500 square feet, these mini abodes often have to be designed …

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

Tips For First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tips For First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Tips For First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to buy your first home in today’s housing market, you’ll want to know what you can do as mortgage rates rise and inventory stays low overall.
  • Connect with a lender to get pre-approved, prioritize your wish list, consider condos, and expand your search radius.
  • Your first home is out there. Let’s connect to explore your options and what other first-time buyers are doing to find their homes.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, October 13, 2022

What to Know About Living in an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

What to Know About Living in an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
So You Want to Live in an ADU? Here’s What to Consider Owners and tenants of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) share key insights about how to navigate the unique living experience. With changes in laws and zoning restrictions in cities such as Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago, …

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

7 ADUs You Can Buy Right Now for Less Than $100,000

7 ADUs You Can Buy Right Now for Less Than $100,000
7 ADUs You Can Buy Right Now for Less Than $100,000 Whether you need a guesthouse for Grandma or additional rental income, these dwellings starting at $26,000 provide extra space and flexibility. Across the country, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are on the rise. And that’s not just because of the …

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Tiny Houses

The Ultimate Guide to Tiny Houses
This house has an exterior of black panels and clear-grain cedar tongue-and-groove siding, and a rooftop deck that lets its owners enjoy the outdoors. The 307-square-foot Sojourner by Häuslein Tiny House Co. can travel with you—or even expand when you’re ready to stake a claim. Founder Ryan O’Donnell …

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

Monday, October 10, 2022

Saving for a Down Payment? Here’s What You Should Know.

Saving for a Down Payment? Here’s What You Should Know. | Simplifying The Market

As you set out to buy a home, saving for a down payment is likely top of mind. But you may still have questions about the process, including how much to save and where to start.

If that sounds like you, your down payment could be more in reach than you originally thought. Here’s why.

The 20% Down Payment Myth

If you believe you have to put 20% down on a home, you may have based your goal on a common misconception. Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.”

Unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. According to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. There are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

This is good news for you because it means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. For more information, turn to a trusted lender.

Down Payment Assistance Programs Can Be a Game Changer

A professional will be able to show you other options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.

A recent article explains why programs like these are helpful:

These resources can immediately build your home buying power and help you take action sooner than you thought possible.”

And if you’re wondering if you have to be a first-time buyer to qualify for these programs, that’s not always the case. According to an article from

“It is a common misconception that homebuyer assistance is only available to first-time homebuyers, however, 38% of homebuyer assistance programs in Q1 2022 did not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.

There are also location and profession-based programs you could qualify for as well.

Bottom Line

Saving for your down payment is an important first step on your homebuying journey. Let’s connect today and make sure you have a trusted lender to help explore your options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Shipping Container Forest Cabin

Shipping Container Forest Cabin
Located in Quebec, Canada, the Shiship is a tiny home built into a high-cube shipping container. The 31-foot-long cabin has a massive picture window …

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

How to Buy a Shipping Container

How to Buy a Shipping Container
If you do decide to purchase a genuine seafaring container, you’ll need to keep a number of factors in mind. First is size. Although dimensions are generally standardized, your safest bet for projects that join multiple units is to purchase a single brand (perhaps one whose logo you fancy). …

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

Monday, October 3, 2022

How To Prep Your House for Sale This Fall

How To Prep Your House for Sale This Fall | Simplifying The Market

Today’s housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you’re thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment.

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.

1. Price It Right

One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That’s because the price sends a message to home shoppers. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer. On the flip side, pricing your house too low may make buyers worry there’s some underlying issue or something wrong with the home.

Your goal in pricing your house is to gain the attention of prospective buyers and get them to make an offer. And with price growth and buyer demand moderating, as well as a greater supply of homes available for sale, pricing your home appropriately for where the market is today has become more important than ever before.

But how do you know that perfect number? Pricing your house isn’t a guessing game. It takes skill and expertise. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to determine the current market value for your home.

2. Keep It Clean

It may sound simple but keeping your house clean is another key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As says in the Home Selling Checklist:

When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour.”

Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any clutter. Doing these simple things can reduce potential distractions for buyers.

For more tips, check out this checklist for preparing your house for sale. Ultimately an agent is your best resource for tailored advice, but this list can help get you started.

3. Help Buyers Feel at Home

Finally, it’s important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items, like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. It’s also a good idea to remove any excess furniture to help the rooms feel bigger and make sure there’s ample space for touring buyers to stand and look at the layout.

If you’re unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run. As a recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.”

Bottom Line

Selling a house requires prep work and expertise. If you’re looking to sell your house this season, let’s connect so you have advice on how to get it ready to list, how to help it stand out in today’s shifting market, and more.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Why Texas is a Popular Market for Millennials

Three millennials pointing at a laptop screen.

Millennials are in a situation where they are not simply buying homes; they are also making the first significant purchase of their lives. This is why it’s common for them to be much more attentive when looking for a home. They want to make sure that they get their money’s worth. Aside from the fact that Texas is very friendly to millennial buyers, there are also many homes on the market here. They have so many choices here, so Texas is a popular market for millennials. 

The steps necessary for someone to buy a home today are a lot different than what they used to be. One of the main reasons for this is the change in buyer demographics. While baby boomers and Gen-X have dominated the real estate buyers market for decades, the past few years have brought a shift with more and more millennials looking to buy.

Who are millennials?

Millennials otherwise referred to as Generation Y, are a group of people born from 1980 to 1995. Their generation followed the Baby Boomers (1945-1964) and Generation X (1961-1979). Millennials currently make up the largest demographic cohort in the United States. Studies describe the main distinguishing traits of millennials as confidence, innovation, education, and social networks.

Three millennial women sitting in a coffee shop laughing.
Millennials are characterized by unpredictable purchasing patterns.

What are millennials looking for in a Texas home?

Texas has, in recent years, become one of the most popular US states for millennials to buy their first homes. Houston, Dallas, Austin, and McKinney currently lead the Texas real estate market. The main attractions that can explain why Texas is a popular market for millennials are:

Low cost of living,

No state income tax,

Variety in real estate properties,

Variety in real estate pricing.

As previously stated, millennial buyers tend to have precise wants and needs regarding house hunting. They will search until they find a home that checks all the boxes on their lists. Let’s go through some of the most common things which draw millennials to the Texas real estate market.

A wide range of options for location

The fact that millennials purchasing patterns are so erratic makes variety very important. Since it offers a wide range of options regarding a home’s location, it is understandable why Texas is a popular market for millennials. From rural homes in quiet areas for online freelancers who don’t have a commute to work to apartments in commercial areas for young workers who enjoy relaxing in a bar after a hard day.

Research shows that millennials tend to look for a home that can give them a way of life that differs from what they are used to. For instance, millennials who are moving from rural areas in Mississippi tend to look for urban metropolitan areas in Texas. The main reason many decide on this step is that they focus significantly on location. They are traveling a lot to get to work or amenities, so now they want to live close to those places. Understanding how a home’s location will reflect on their lives is a big part of how they choose a place to live.

Large outdoor spaces

As they have spent the last few years locked up because of the pandemic, most millennials want spacious outdoor areas to chill alone or host gatherings with friends and family. This is something that Texas has a lot of. This demographic also very much appreciate specific amenities such as a back porch or deck, a fire pit and grill, and a garden or glasshouse.

A large backyard.
One of the main reasons Texas is a popular market for millennials is that most suburban homes here offer large outdoor areas like backyards.

Large cooking areas

Younger generations of homebuyers have been known to value spacious kitchens very strongly. And while some of the older generations were fond of separate dining rooms, today’s young adults would much rather have an open concept to easily traverse between the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

While not all homes in Texas have this floor plan, it is prevalent for millennials to buy the ones that do not for less money and then break down a wall or two. Open floor concepts can mostly be found in newly built homes in metropolitan areas, which millennials love since they are often turnkey.

Welcoming neighborhoods

Since most millennials are first-time home buyers, the friendly, family-oriented suburban neighborhoods that Texas offers have been an attractive option for those who are parting with their family homes for the first time. The familiarity makes the transition much more manageable. People from any age group can agree on the importance of living in a place that makes you feel safe and like you belong.

The many planned communities and housing tracts are significant factors for why Texas is a popular market for millennials. They enjoy living in places close to their workplace and decent schools for their children. The availability of public amenities like gyms, community centers with workstations, and cafes where they can work during the day is also essential for millennial buyers.


Low-maintenance homes attract millennials very much. However, they also want homes tailored to their individual style and design preferences. The most common choice for exterior and interior design is a classic charm with modern comforts. They also appreciate multi-purpose design a lot.
Modern facilities

Most millennials don’t have as much of a focus on space as previous generations. What they want in their homes is modern, well-functioning features. These include things like dishwashers, washers, dryers, and space to work out.

A smart home thermostat.
Having a smart thermostat is almost a given in the minds of millennial buyers.

Many millennials want to communicate with their homes through their phones. If you are selling a home in Texas, experts from recommend installing at least a few cheap home automation devices, such as smart lighting and heating. This is sure to help you entice millennial buyers.

Final thoughts

We really have millennials to thank for the recent skyrocket in homeownership rates. Millennials have slowly been taking over the housing market and shaking it up by looking for different things than previous generations. When they are ready to spend money on a new home, they are also prepared to ask a lot for it. Texas is a popular market for millennials because it can offer all of that to them.

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