Homeownership Rate Rebounds from 50-Year Low

The U.S. homeownership rate may have finally bottomed out, as the share of Americans who own homes is steadily climbing. The ownership rate posted an increase in the second quarter, reversing a sharp downward trend that begun in the Great Recession.

 

 

 

The homeownership rate was 63.7 percent in the second quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. That marks nearly a full percentage point increase from a year ago.

Last year, the homeownership rate had plunged to a 50-year low of 62.9 percent.

“The addition of 1.2 million households being homeowners is clearly good news, as more households are participating in housing equity gains,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “But let’s keep it in perspective: There are fewer homeowners today compared to a decade ago, while renter households have risen by 8 million. So it is still the case that the massive $7 trillion in housing wealth gains from the cyclical low point has been accumulated by a fewer number of families in America. Further advances in homeownership are required to strengthen and broaden the middle class.”

 

 

Source:  The Wall Street Journal (July 27, 2017) and National Association of REALTORS

 

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 8:34 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers, Market Stats

What to Look for in a House if You Love to Entertain

These 10 things will smooth the way for bringing guests into your home and ensuring a good time

 

Feeling overwhelmed by the home-buying process? Don’t get swamped, get focused. Beyond the basics of location, price and condition, what do you really want from your home? In this series, we’re zeroing in on the top items to look for in a house based on your personal passions and lifestyle. Consider adding these 10 items to your home-buying wish list if you love entertaining.
Posted on July 17, 2017 at 9:21 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

5 Tips for Buyers in a Tight Housing Market

 

 

 

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2017) – When inventory is low, home prices tend to go up. Attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming. To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market with as little stress and difficulty as possible, the National Association of Realtors® has these five suggestions:

 

 

1. Determine and stick to a budget. Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.

 

2. Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs. When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.

 

3. Be ready to make a decision quickly. In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

 

4. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

 

5. Work with a Realtor®. All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

 

 

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

New Homeowners: Ready to Knock Down Walls? 3 Projects to Knock Out Instead

new homeowners

 

 

You just became a homeowner—congratulations!  In between the oh-my-gosh-I-have-a-mortgage feeling and the pile of empty pizza boxes (you have yet to unpack your cookware), new homeowners may be making a mental list of all the things you’re going to do to make your home YOUR home —projects you plan to knock out the first few weeks as king (or queen!) of your castle.

But tackling too much, too soon is a recipe for regret for new homeowners. The fact is, even though all of those projects seem necessary (they seemed necessary when you walked the home, too!), many of them aren’t.

A full-blown kitchen remodel, for instance, is a wise investment—but only after you’ve determined your needs as a homeowner (and how long you plan to stay in the house, as well). Ditto for the bathrooms—both projects are disruptive, expensive and time-consuming.

So, what should be addressed right out of the gate?

Appliances

You may be one of the select new homeowners who gets to inherit the former owner’s appliances—another congratulations is in order! Head to Home Depot sooner rather than later for new, ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances. Replacing even just one with an energy-efficient and/or smart alternative, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), can save you $50 and 100 hours each year.

 

Insulation

Make it a priority to check the insulation in the attic—installing more where needed can cut costs your first year as a homeowner (and every year after). It’s well worth the expense: according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, fiberglass attic insulation recoups over 100 percent of its cost at resale.

Landscape

Money doesn’t grow on trees…but home value does. If your new landscape’s lacking, start planting trees as soon as possible—you’ll not only see lower energy costs over the long term, but also an average 18 percent boost in value, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

That’s it—just three tasks. If you’re in your forever home, you’ll have more than enough time to finish these, and the rest on your list.

 

 

Suzanne DeVita – Real Estate magazine,  Nov 21 2016 

 

 

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

Buying a New House? 5 Things to Check Before Moving In

 

 

 

Buying a new house is an exciting process that marks a new chapter in life.  For many people, it’s fun to shop around and tour different properties. When you’re serious about purchasing a home, there are a few important parts of the property to check before you move in.

 

The Neighborhood
You should feel comfortable with the quality of the neighborhood, which will influence the value of your home.  Look at the condition of the other homes and check to see if people are loitering at different times of the day.  The house should also be in proximity to your job, or nearby schools if you have children.  Some individuals who don’t have a family may want to purchase a home in a good school district due to the impact that it’ll have on the value of the property.

 

Storage Space
The storage space that is available in the home influences how much clutter will be left out in the open. Look for plenty of storage space that is available in the bedroom closets or in the kitchen to ensure that you can comfortably fit everything that you own without feeling cramped.

 

Plumbing System
Run the faucets to inspect the water pressure and ask the owners if the pipes are insulated. Hire professionals to check if the radiators are working and if the hot water tank needs to be replaced soon.

 

The Roof
The roof is one of the more costly features of the home and protects the interior setting from damage due to environmental elements. Hire a professional roofer to determine the lifespan of the roofing material and if it needs any repairs. The tiles or shingles should be secure on the roof deck, and there shouldn’t be any leaks present.

 

Sufficient Drainage
Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking the drainage on the property, but it can cause issues if not in good shape. Insufficient drainage can lead to severe structural problems in the home.

 

Although it can be easy to fall in love with a house, there are several areas to check before making an offer to ensure that you won’t run into problems down the road. By taking the time to inspect each part of the property, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re making a good investment.

 

 

By Kara Masterson –  RISMedia

 

 

Posted on April 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

What to Look for in a House if You Plan to Age in Place

 

Look for details like these when designing or shopping for your forever home

 Traditional Exterior by Karnak Pro Builders
Karnak Pro Builders
Hunting for a house that will work for you now and allow you to stay safely and comfortably in your home as you grow older is no easy feat. If you’re looking to age in place, consider putting these 10 things on your home buying wish list to ensure you can happily stay in your home for many years to come.
Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers, Home Design

What to Look for in a House if You Have Kids

Your life at home with children will be easier if your house has some version of these features

 

If you have kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. To avoid getting swamped by the home buying process, focus on what you really want from your home. Beyond the basics of location, price, condition and school district, what would really make a home a great fit for your family? Consider adding these 10 items to your home buying wish list.
Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor – March 22, 2017
Posted on March 27, 2017 at 5:51 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

The Big Down Payment Myth

 

Having the spare capital to put 20 percent down on a home purchase is great, but it’s certainly not the norm. Still, many people think it is and that belief may be holding some would-be home buyers back, particularly young adults.

 

 

 

Indeed, 39 percent of non-owners say they believe they need more than 20 percent for a down payment on a home purchase. Twenty-six percent believe they need to put down 15 to 20 percent, and 22 percent say they need a down payment of 10 percent to 14 percent to buy, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile report.

But now for the reality: The average down payment on a purchase mortgage was just 11 percent in 2016. And that’s just the average; often times down payments are much lower. For borrowers under the age of 35, the average down payment was just under 8 percent, according to NAR’s survey.

As such, “aspiring first-time buyers think it takes twice as much to buy a home than it really does,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, in his latest column.

How much a person truly needs for a down payment depends on their situation. Their financial circumstances, home location, and the price of the home are important factors.

But there are many mortgage options that offer the opportunity to make low or even no down payments. For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer no-money down loans to those who are eligible. In 2016, 16 percent of buyers under the age of 35 put no money down on their home purchase.

Further, the largest share of loans for buyers under age 35 last year were for people putting down less than 5 percent on a home purchase (or about $3,500). The 3 percent down payment programs backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the 3.5 percent FHA mortgage that primarily targets first-time buyers, are both helpful programs to consider. These loan programs don’t require unblemished credit either. The average FICO score was 713, but realtor.com® notes borrowers with a 639 were still getting approved.

As such, Smoke says the millennial dreaming about homeownership needs to get this message: They need a FICO score of at least 639 and enough for a 5 percent down payment (that is, if they don’t qualify for the other programs with lower payment options). In that case, they’ll need to save about $3,500 to buy in the typical American town.

 

 

Source:  “Attention First-Time Buyers: Here’s the Key Stuff You Don’t Know About Mortgages,” realtor.com® (Feb. 9, 2017)

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

5 Stress Relieving Tips for First-time Homebuyers

first homeMoving into a new place is both exciting and challenging, and that is especially true if it’s your first time as a homeowner. Instead of allowing the process to overwhelm you, keep some tips in mind to help navigate through this exciting journey in your life.

Don’t Proceed Alone

You don’t need to take on the process of searching for and buying a home without assistance. Maintain contact with a Realtor throughout the process. A well-qualified agent can assist you in searching for the perfect property.

Open Your Mind

Right now, you may have a list of all the features that you want in a house. You may have decided that you will only live in the community with the lowest crime rate and the best schools. Keep in mind that all of these desires cost money and you probably do not have an unlimited budget. Instead of maintaining such a myopic view of your new home, open your mind to the possibility of making some concessions.

Define Your Financial Ability

Opting for a pre-approval is a good idea so you know how much of a loan you can receive approval for. Once you obtain that amount, you might decide to spend the maximum amount. Doing so will likely prove uncomfortable for your budget. If you or your partner lost your job, you might not have the ability to keep your house at all. Try to start small with your first house purchase and avoid spending money beyond your means.

Take Your Time

Once you decide that you are in the right place to buy a house, you might be so eager that you rush through the process. Weigh the pros and cons of each house you look at. If possible, plan an adequate amount of time around the buying process to ensure that you have considered all your best options.

Prepare for Other Expenses

You need to find out if you are expected to pay closing costs upfront or if you can roll them into your loan. In some areas, the sellers will agree to pay for the closing costs. Not only do you need money for these expenses, but you’ll also need to cover other costs that are associated with moving into a new house.

Buying your first home can be both terrifying and wonderful all at once. Be prepared to invest in a financial investment like this by hiring professionals and making smart decisions. If home is where the heart is, allow yourself the time and care in finding the best possible place for you and your family.

Meghan Belnap  June 15, 2016 – Housecall

Posted on January 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers

What an Open-Plan Addition Can Do for Your Old House

Don’t resort to demolition just yet.  With a little imagination, older homes can easily be adapted for modern living

 

It’s no secret that many of the original homes we see in older, established areas simply don’t cut it when it comes to meeting our 21st-century lifestyles. Many of these homes feature individual, boxed-in rooms instead of the open-plan layouts that support our contemporary life. Small, badly positioned windows are also common in these older homes, which means they don’t make the most of views, outdoor living connections or passive-solar design principles.

The good news is there’s often no need to knock down an older house and start again. An open-plan addition and a rethinking of how the original home’s rooms can be used can change everything.

Janik Dalecki    Houzz.com  January 11, 2017
Posted on January 16, 2017 at 8:29 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buyers, Sellers