Should You Buy the “Except for…” Home?

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Imagine finding a home that is perfect in every way, except for one nagging thing. That “thing” might be a smaller kitchen than you want, fewer closets than you need, or flooring that you dislike. Should you buy it anyway? How do you know if you should take a pass? It’s not an easy decision to make and depends on a number of factors.

Trying to answer these questions might help:How likely is it that you’ll find another home that better meets your needs?
How soon do you want to move? (If you’re in a time-crunch you may need to adjust your expectations.)
Is the “except for…” something that can be fixed, perhaps with a renovation? For example, there are many ways to expand a small kitchen.
If the home’s shortcoming is fixable, approximately how much will that cost? It might turn out that the improvement is a good investment.
Can you live with the nagging “thing”, especially when the home is otherwise perfect?
It can be tough to work through a decision like this, especially if you’re in a situation where you need to make an offer quickly. Call today for help.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

Getting the Home You Want in a Competitive Market

Regardless of whether the overall housing market is up or down, there can be fierce competition when it comes to buying a home in a desirable neighborhood. So, if you want to live in a “hot’ area, how do you gain an advantage? Here are some tips:

  • Schedule viewings of homes for sale in the neighborhood as soon as they go on the market. Have you ever heard the expression, “The early bird gets the worm”? It’s often true.
  • Arrange to get alerted, via email or text, to brand new listings the moment they are available.
  • Make sure you have your financing pre-approved, so you can make a quick and credible offer right away.
  • Prepare your current home for sale, so you can list it quickly (if it isn’t already listed.)
  • Know how to make an enticing offer that a buyer will take seriously. It’s not always the highest price that wins the deal.

Even in a competitive market, you don’t want to end up overpaying. That’s why
savvy offer preparation, presentation and negotiation are also keys to getting the
home you want.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today

82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today | MyKCM

The financial benefits of buying a home as compared to renting one are always up for debate. However, one element of the equation is often ignored – the ability to build wealth as a homeowner.

Most experts are calling for home prices to continue appreciating over the next several years. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey, a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, expects home appreciation to increase as follows:

  • 2021: 6%
  • 2022: 4.5%
  • 2023: 4%
  • 2024: 3.6%
  • 2025: 3.5%
82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today | MyKCM

Using their annual projections, the graph below shows the equity build-up a purchaser could earn, using a $350,000 home as an example:A homeowner could increase their net worth by over $80,000 in five years. That’s an average of $16,000 annually. That number should be in any equation determining the financial benefits of owning a home compared to renting.

Bottom Line

Homeowners are going to make a substantial amount of money in home equity over the next five years. If you’re ready to buy a home, let’s connect so you can enjoy this great benefit as well.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

How Much Time Do You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

How Much Time Do You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

One of the biggest hurdles homebuyers face is saving for a down payment. As you’re budgeting and planning for your home purchase, you’ll want to understand how much you’ll need to put down and how long it will take you to get there. The process may actually move faster than you think.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Apartment List, we can estimate how long it might take someone earning the median income and paying the median rent to save up for a down payment on a median-priced home. Since saving for a down payment can be a great time to practice budgeting for housing costs, this estimate also uses the concept that a household should not pay more than 28% of their total income on monthly housing expenses.

How Much Time Do You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

According to the data, the national average for the time it would take to save for a 10% down payment is right around two and a half years (2.53). Residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the fastest, doing so in just over one year (1.31). The map below illustrates this time (in years) for each state:

What if you only need to save 3%?

How Much Time Do You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

What if you’re able to take advantage of one of the 3% down payment programs available? It’s a common misconception that you need a 20% down payment to buy a home, but there are actually more affordable options and down payment assistance programs available, especially for first-time buyers. The reality is, saving for a 3% down payment may not take several years. In fact, it could take less than a year in most states, as shown in the map below:

Bottom Line

Wherever you are in the process of saving for a down payment, you may be closer to your dream home than you think. Let’s connect to explore the down payment options available in our area and how they support your plans.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

Should You Worry About Competition?

Buying a home is different than purchasing most other “products” in one important respect: agreeing to the price tag doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the property! There may be competing offers.

Fortunately, there is plenty that can be done to increase your chances of getting the home you want. 

The most effective strategy is to be proactive. Get alerted to and go to see properties that match your criteria the moment they come on the market. That way, you’ll get a jump on competing buyers. When you find a home you want, go in at the right price. You don’t want to pay too much, but your offer does need to signal to the seller that you’re serious. 

Effective offer presentation and negotiation also play vital roles. Having your offer presented with expertise and skill will maximize your chances of getting the deal. 

Yes, competing offers can make you anxious. But, if you have the right expert working on your behalf, you can breathe a little easier.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits | MyKCM

Fannie Mae survey recently revealed some of the most highly-rated benefits of homeownership, which continue to be key drivers in today’s power-packed housing market. Here are the top four financial benefits of owning a home according to consumer respondents:

  • 88% – a better chance of saving for retirement
  • 87% – the best investment plan
  • 85% – the chance to be better off financially
  • 85% – the chance to build up wealth

Additional financial advantages of homeownership included in the survey are having the best overall tax situation and being able to live within your budget.

Does homeownership actually give you a better chance to build wealth?

No one can question a person’s unique feelings about the importance of homeownership. However, it’s fair to ask if the numbers justify homeownership as a financial asset.

Last fall, the Federal Reserve released the Survey of Consumer Finances, a report done every three years, with the latest edition covering through 2019. Their findings confirmed that homeownership is a clear financial benefit. The survey found that homeowners have forty times higher net worth than renters ($255,000 for homeowners compared to $6,300 for renters).

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits | MyKCM

The difference in net worth between homeowners and renters has continued to grow. Here’s a graph showing the results of the last four Fed surveys:The above graph only includes data through 2019, but according to CoreLogic, the equity held by homeowners grew by $26,300 over the last twelve months alone. That means the gap between the net worth of homeowners and renters has probably widened even further over the last year.

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits | MyKCM

Some might argue the difference in net worth may be due to homeowners normally having larger incomes than renters and therefore the ability to save more money. However, a study by First American shows homeowners have greater net worth than renters regardless of their income level. Here are the findings:Others may think homeowners are older and that’s why they have a greater net worth. However, a Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University report on homeowners and renters over the age of 65 reveals:

“The ability to build equity puts homeowners far ahead of renters in terms of household wealth…the median owner age 65 and over had home equity of $143,500 and net wealth of $319,200. By comparison, the net wealth of the same-age renter was just $6,700.”

Homeowners 65 and older have 47.6 times greater net worth than renters.

Bottom Line

The idea of homeownership as a direct way to build your net worth has met the test of time. Let’s connect if you’re ready to take steps toward becoming a homeowner.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

How a Change in Mortgage Rate Impacts Your Homebuying Budget

How a Change in Mortgage Rate Impacts Your Homebuying Budget | MyKCM

Mortgage rates are on the rise this year, but they’re still incredibly low compared to the historic average. However, anytime there’s a change in the mortgage rate, it affects what you can afford to borrow when you’re buying a home. As Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macshares:

Since January, mortgage rates have increased half a percentage point from historic lows and home prices have risen, leaving potential homebuyers with less purchasing power.” (See graph below):

How a Change in Mortgage Rate Impacts Your Homebuying Budget | MyKCM

When buying a home, it’s important to determine a monthly budget so you can plan for and understand what you can afford. However, when you need to stick to your budget, even a small increase in the mortgage rate can make a big difference.

How a Change in Mortgage Rate Impacts Your Homebuying Budget | MyKCM

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today, the median existing-home price is $313,000. Using $300,000 as a simple number close to the median price, here’s an example of how a change in mortgage rate impacts your monthly principal and interest payments on a home.If, for example, you’re getting ready to buy a home and know your budget allows for a monthly payment of $1200-1250 (marked in gray on the table above), every time the mortgage rate increases, the loan amount has to decrease to keep your monthly cost in range. This means you may have to look for lower-priced homes as mortgage rates go up if you want to be able to maintain your budget.

In essence, it’s ideal to close on a home loan when mortgage rates are low, so you can afford to borrow more money. This gives you more purchasing power when you buy a home. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplains:

“Monthly payments have remained manageable despite soaring home prices because of low mortgage rates. In fact, monthly payments remain below the $1,250 to $1,260 range that we saw in both fall 2018 and spring 2019, but they are on track to hit that level this spring.

Although they remain low, mortgage rates have begun to increase and are expected to rise further later in the year, thus affordability will test buyer demand in the months ahead and likely help slow the pace of price growth.”

Today’s mortgage rates are still very low, but experts project they’ll continue to rise modestly this year. As a result, every moment counts for homebuyers who want to secure the lowest mortgage rate they can in order to be able to afford the home of their dreams.

Bottom Line

Thanks to low mortgage rates, the spring housing market’s in bloom for buyers – but these favorable conditions may not last for long. Let’s connect today to start the homebuying process while your purchasing power is still holding strong.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers

Buyer and Seller Perks in Today’s Housing Market

Buyer & Seller Perks in Today’s Housing Market | MyKCM

Right now, the housing market is full of outstanding opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to a bigger one, or selling so you can downsize this spring, there are perks today that are powering big moves for people across the country. Here are the top two to keep on the radar this season.

The Biggest Perk for Buyers: Low Mortgage Rates

Buyer & Seller Perks in Today’s Housing Market | MyKCM

Today’s most compelling buyer incentive is low mortgage interest rates. The 30-year fixed-rate is now averaging just over 3%. While that’s slightly higher than the record-lows from 2020 and earlier this year, it’s still way lower than historic norms, making purchasing a home an ongoing perk for hopeful buyers (See graph below):This is a huge advantage for buyers and helps to make owning a home attainable for more households – and there’s good reason to strive for homeownership. The latest Homeowner Equity Report from CoreLogic shows how homeowners saw major gains in their net worth last year, all thanks to owning a home. Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogicexplains:

Positive factors like record-low interest rates and a booming housing market encouraged many families to enter homeownership. This growing bank of personal wealth that homeownership affords was noticed by many but in particular for first-time buyers who want a piece of the cake. As a result, we may see more of those currently renting start to enter the market in the near future.”

Low mortgage rates are a plus for buyers right now, but experts forecast we’ll see them continue to rise as the year goes on. If you’re ready to purchase a home, it’s wise to get started on the process soon so you can secure today’s comparatively low rate.

The Biggest Perk for Sellers: Low Inventory

Today, there are simply not enough houses on the market for the number of buyers looking to purchase them, and it’s creating a serious sellers’ market. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“Total active inventory continues to decline, dropping 50 percent. With buyers active in the market and sellers still slow to put homes up for sale, homes are selling quickly and the total number actively available for sale at any point in time continues to decline.” (See map below):

Buyer & Seller Perks in Today’s Housing Market | MyKCM

The lack of houses for sale continues to challenge the market, and with low mortgage rates fueling buyer demand, homes are hard for buyers to find today. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house is now receiving 4.1 offers and is on the market for only 20 days.

Buyers are clearly eager to purchase, and because of the shortage of inventory available, they’re often entering bidding warsThis is one of the factors keeping home prices strong and giving sellers leverage in the negotiation process.

Homeowners who are in a position to sell shouldn’t wait to make their move. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for today’s inventory shortage, so listing this spring will get your house on the market when conditions are most favorable. With low inventory and high buyer demand, homeowners can potentially earn a greater profit on their houses and sell them quickly in the fast-paced spring market.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, there are major perks available in today’s housing market. Let’s connect today to discuss how these favorable conditions play to your advantage in our local area.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers