Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership?

Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership? | MyKCM

Financial benefits are always a key aspect of homeownership, but it’s also important to understand that the nonfinancial and personal benefits are why so many people genuinely fall in love with their homes. When you own your home, you likely feel a sense of emotional attachment because of the comfort it provides, but also because it’s a space that’s truly yours.

Over the past two years, we’ve learned to love our homes even more as we’ve stayed home more than ever due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the personal and emotional benefits our homes provide have become even more important to us.

As the most recent State of the American Homeowner from Unison puts it:

“Despite the upheaval and uncertainty of the past year, one thing has stayed the same: the home continues to be of the utmost importance and a place of security and comfort.

When the health crisis began, the world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners now love their homes even more as our emotional attachments to them have grown:

Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership? | MyKCM

That sense of emotional connection genuinely reaches far beyond the financial aspect of homeownership. Because they’re our shelters – ones that we can genuinely call our own. Our homes touch our hearts and can also positively impact our mental health.

As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:

“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.

Bottom Line

There are so many reasons to fall head over heels for homeownership. Your home will provide a place to customize and call your own, in addition to stability and security. If you’re ready to fall in love with homeownership, let’s connect so you can get started on your homebuying journey today.

 

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop

 

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM
Homeownership has become a major element in achieving the American Dream. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finds that over 86% of buyers agree homeownership is still the American Dream. Prior to the 1950s, less than half of the country owned their own home. However, after World War II, many returning veterans used the benefits afforded by the GI Bill to purchase a home. Since then, the percentage of homeowners throughout the country has increased to the current rate of 65.5%. That strong desire for homeownership has kept home values appreciating ever since. The graph below tracks home price appreciation since the end of World War II: Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM The graph shows the only time home values dropped significantly was during the housing boom and bust of 2006-2008. If you look at how prices spiked prior to 2006, it looks a bit like the current spike in prices over the past two years. That may lead some people to be concerned we’re about to see a similar fall in home values as we did when the bubble burst. To help alleviate those worries, let’s look at what happened last time and what’s happening today.

What Caused the Housing Crash 15 Years Ago?

Back in 2006, foreclosures flooded the market. That drove down home values dramatically. The two main reasons for the flood of foreclosures were:

1. Many purchasers were not truly qualified for the mortgage they obtained, which led to more homes turning into foreclosures.
2. A number of homeowners cashed in the equity on their homes. When prices dropped, they found themselves in an underwater situation (where the home was worth less than the mortgage on the house). Many of these homeowners walked away from their homes, leading to more foreclosures. This lowered neighboring home values even more.

This cycle continued for years.

Why Today’s Real Estate Market Is Different

Here are two reasons today’s market is nothing like the one we experienced 15 years ago.

1. Today, Demand for Homeownership Is Real (Not Artificially Generated)

Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Today, purchasers and those refinancing a home face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Data from the Urban Institute shows the amount of risk banks were willing to take on then as compared to now. Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM There’s always risk when a bank loans money. However, leading up to the housing crash 15 years ago, lending institutions took on much greater risks in both the person and the mortgage product offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices. Today, the demand for homeownership is real. It’s generated by a re-evaluation of the importance of home due to a worldwide pandemic. Additionally, lending standards are much stricter in the current lending environment. Purchasers can afford the mortgage they’re taking on, so there’s little concern about possible defaults. And if you’re worried about the number of people still in forbearance, you should know there’s no risk of that causing an upheaval in the housing market today. There won’t be a flood of foreclosures.

2. People Are Not Using Their Homes as ATMs Like They Did in the Early 2000s

As mentioned above, when prices were rapidly escalating in the early 2000s, many thought it would never end. They started to borrow against the equity in their homes to finance new cars, boats, and vacations. When prices started to fall, many of these homeowners were underwater, leading some to abandon their homes. This increased the number of foreclosures. Homeowners didn’t forget the lessons of the crash as prices skyrocketed over the last few years. Black Knight reports that tappable equity (the amount of equity available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio, or LTV) has more than doubled compared to 2006 ($4.6 trillion to $9.9 trillion). The latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic reveals that the average homeowner gained $55,300 in home equity over the past year alone. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First Americanreports:

“Homeowners in Q4 2021 had an average of $307,000 in equity – a historic high.”

ATTOM Data Services also reveals that 41.9% of all mortgaged homes have at least 50% equity. These homeowners will not face an underwater situation even if prices dip slightly. Today, homeowners are much more cautious.

Bottom Line

The major reason for the housing crash 15 years ago was a tsunami of foreclosures. With much stricter mortgage standards and a historic level of homeowner equity, the fear of massive foreclosures impacting today’s market is not realistic.

Answers For Homeowner’s Four Biggest Questions

Luke-Small-Web-Right

1. Is now a good time to sell?

In short, yes. Here are the biggest reasons why:
Inventory is still at record lows and buyer demand at record highs. Low mortgage rates mean this is the perfect time to move up or downsize your current living situation for an affordable price. Sellers have leverage in a highly competitive market. This can be strategic when it comes to negotiating terms.

2. What if I sell my home, but I’m unable to find a new one to buy?

Closing dates can be worked out in the terms and are often flexible. And there are many short-term housing options available should there be a gap.

3. Home prices are high right now. Should I wait to buy?

Increasing values don’t always equate to decreased affordability. The actual cost of housing reflects a person’s purchasing power, which is a function of mortgage rates and income. It’s not just price.

4. If a lot of foreclosures hit the market, will that decrease home values?

This is a common concern about the end of forbearance and homes potentially flooding the market. Here’s why that’s not likely to happen.

Nearly 30% of borrowers in forbearance are still current on their mortgage payments. Learning from the past, many banks will negotiate modification plans with borrowers, which will enable households to maintain ownership. Most homeowners are equity rich, and many will be able to sell instead of going into foreclosure.

Contact me for answers to your questions and a free home estimate.  Peggy – 734.260.4032 or text me!

5 Steps To Avoid Buyer Fatigue

WHAT IS BUYER FATIGUE?

We are currently experiencing a hypercompetitive seller’s market with low inventory and many active buyers. This quickly spirals potential home-buyers into the frustrating realm of buyer fatigue. Buyer fatigue refers to buyers who have seen so many properties, written too many unsuccessful offers, and are flat out exhausted with the buying process. Searching for the dream home can be an exhaustive undertaking and when you are losing out time and time again you start to feel like you will never win a bid.

WHERE DOES THIS FATIGUE COME FROM?

Buyer fatigue sneaks up on house hunters that want to start slow and take their time feeling out a hot market. Possibly based on their family or friends’ advice, they may make a cautious initial offer on a home with the hopes of strengthening it if it’s rejected. Unfortunately, listening to someone who is not familiar with the market can lead you into disappointing territory.

When buyers are skeptical of market advice and don’t capitalize on opportunities to write winning offers, they can waste crucial weeks, or even months, in a damaging cycle of submitting offers, getting rejected, modifying offers, getting rejected again, then starting all over with the next property. Listening to a knowledgeable Realtor can help you navigate through this process in a more efficient way.

The Greater Vancouver housing market is extremely competitive. The current market value in most neighborhoods is quickly increasing and the sale price of each condo, townhouse, or single-family home sets the precedent for the next one in that neighborhood.  New home buyers can fear overpaying when advised to bid above the asking price on their first offer. The cold hard truth is that some houses are selling for upwards of $100,000 over the asking price. Sellers have the leverage and the luxury to pick whichever offer has the highest price and the fewest subjects.

Buyers have to learn quickly! If you take too long adjusting to the market conditions, buyer fatigue is going to set in. Unfortunately, desperation can also kick in at this point.

The biggest bummer of this whole process is that when the buyer finally does buy a home, they may long for the one that got away!

5 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR DEFENSE AGAINST BUYER FATIGUE:

  1. Hire an experienced agent you can trust! This means that right now may not be the best time to try out your cousin who just got licensed. Choose an agent who can balance writing a winning offer and protecting your interests. Select someone who clearly communicates and takes the time to explain the risk in waiving subjects.
  2. Speak with a mortgage specialist to help you get the most out of your money. They can walk you through the best type of financing for your individual situation and share helpful tips based on their knowledge of the industry.
  3. Get fully and thoroughly pre-approved! Get pre-approved before making an offer. Make sure to complete all the paperwork you can ahead of time.
  4. Don’t be afraid to go ALL IN with your first offer. Know that it is okay to fall in love with the first house you make an offer on. Remember that subjects can be removed if due diligence was properly done before writing an offer. Having an experienced agent to guide you through these decisions is vital.
  5. Consider updating your wish list. If you have lost out in previous offers, speak with your agent about reevaluating your wish list. You can increase the number of potential homes by broadening your preferred neighborhoods or updating the minimum property size (just to name a few). Additionally, the properties in less popular areas may have reduced audiences which lowers the amount of competition.

NEXT STEPS FOR SUCCESS

 It is important to know that buyer fatigue can happen to anyone, even experienced buyers.  Align yourself with a proven and trusted team. Our hope is that you will find the home of your dreams before the fatigue sets in!  It is important to know that buyer fatigue can happen to anyone, even experienced buyers.  Align yourself with a proven and trusted team. Our hope is that you will find the home of your dreams before the fatigue sets in!
Luke-Small-Web-Right

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today

Almost every industry is currently struggling with supply chain disruptions. This also applies to the current U.S. housing market, where buyer demand far exceeds housing supply.

Purchaser demand is very strong right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which reveals that sales surged in January. Existing home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.5 million – an increase of 6.7% from the prior month, with sales up in all regions. However, there’s one big challenge.

Inventory Is at an All-Time Low

Because purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available homes for sale. The above-mentioned report states that the current months’ supply of inventory of homes for sale has fallen to 1.6 months. This prompts Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, to say:

“The inventory of homes on the market remains woefully depleted, and in fact is currently at an all-time low.”

Earlier this month, realtor.com released their inventory data for January. It helps confirm this point. Here’s a graph comparing inventory levels for January over the last six years:

As the graph shows, new listings coming on the market have decreased over the last four years (shown in blue in the graph). The graph also reveals that carry-over inventory has plummeted in recent years. This is because listings are now sold so quickly, they don’t stay on the market long enough to carry over month-to-month (shown in green in the graph). In other words, homes are not staying on the market for months as they had prior to the pandemic. In the report mentioned above, NAR reveals that:

“Seventy-nine percent of homes sold in January 2022 were on the market for less than a month.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains it like this:

“A higher velocity of sales (lower [Days on Market]) helps to explain a housing market characterized by both higher sales & lower inventory. Many resale transactions are happening so quickly that they ‘flow’ in & then out of the ‘stock’ between the fixed monthly measurement of inventory.

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Anyone thinking of putting their home on the market shouldn’t wait. A seller will always negotiate the best deal when demand is high and supply is limited. That’s exactly the situation in the real estate market today.

Later this year, inventory (and by extension, your competition) will increase as many homeowners are waiting to put their homes on the market in the spring and early summer.

In addition, Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

“Housing starts start off 2022 strong, just edging out 2021 for most in January since 2006.”

As these newly built homes are completed, they will also become competition for your house. This gives you a tremendous opportunity right now. Don’t wait for that increase in competition in your area. If you want to sell in 2022 and are ready to start the process, today is the day to list your house.

The Bottom Line…

If you’re ready to sell, let’s connect to get your house on the market while today’s inventory situation is in your favor.

Want To Look For Homes On Your Own?

Here is the answer!!

https://peggyleiby.realscout.com/homesearch/map?for_sale=1&for_rent=0

Delivering a collaborative home search experience, RealScout’s platform empowers you with accurate listing data!

You will be impressed by the personalized interface, the ability to rate listings and organize favorites, ask questions about the home, compare up to three properties side by side, and receive listing alerts based on their lifestyle preferences.

Let me know if you have any questions! Have Fun Playing With This!!

If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This

 If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This.
If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCM

There are many non-financial benefits of buying your own home. However, today’s headlines seem to be focusing primarily on the financial aspects of homeownership – specifically affordability. Many articles are making the claim that it’s not affordable to buy a home in today’s market, but that isn’t the case.

Today’s buyers are spending approximately 20% of their income on their monthly mortgage payments. According to The Essential Guide to Creating a Homebuying Budget from Freddie Mac, the 20% of income that purchasers are currently paying is well within the 28% guideline suggested:

“Most lenders agree that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage payment (including principal, interest, taxes and insurance).”

So why is there so much talk about challenges regarding affordability?

It’s Not That Homes Are Unaffordable – It’s That They’re Less Affordable.

Since home prices are rising, it’s true that homes are less affordable than they have been since the housing crash fifteen years ago. Headlines making these claims aren’t incorrect; they just don’t tell the whole story. To paint the full picture, you have to look at how today stacks up with historical data. A closer analysis of affordability going further back in time reveals that homes today are more affordable than any time from 1975 to 2005.

Despite that, the chatter about affordability is pushing some buyers to the sidelines. They don’t feel comfortable knowing someone else got a better deal a year ago.

However, Are Homes Really Less Affordable if We Consider Equity?

In a recent post, Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, offers a different take on the financial components of housing affordability. Kushi proposes we should at least consider the impact equity build-up has on the affordability equation, stating:

“For those trying to buy a home, rapid house price appreciation can be intimidating and makes the purchase more expensive. However, once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets.”

Let’s look at an example. In the above-mentioned post, Kushi examines the rent versus buy situation in Dallas, Texas. Kushi chose Dallas because home prices there sit near the median of the top 50 markets in the nation.

Kushi first calculates the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home with a 5% down payment and a mortgage rate of 3% (see chart below):If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCMKushi then takes the monthly cost and subtracts the appreciation the home had over the previous twelve months. The average house price in Dallas increased 17.5% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to last year (this is in line with the national pace). That equates to an equity benefit of approximately $3,550 each month if the pace remains the same (see chart below):If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCMWe can see the equity gained each month was greater than the monthly mortgage payment, resulting in a negative cost to own. The buyer could build their net worth by $1,830 each month – after paying their mortgage.

Kushi then compares the monthly cost of owning to the cost of renting (see chart below):If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCMWhen adding equity build-up into the equation, the cost of renting is $3,140 more expensive than owning. Again, the First American analysis shows that it’s less expensive to own in each of the top 50 markets in the country when including the equity component.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the fence about whether to buy or rent right now, let’s connect so we can determine if the equity increase in our local market should impact your decision.

                                                
The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

HOME BUYING: Real Estate Trends 2021: What You Need to Know

Wow, 2020 was a challenging year. With so much that happened across the country, you might be wondering how it’ll impact real estate trends in 2021.

While the pandemic did disrupt home sales in the spring of 2020 (which is usually considered the hottest season for real estate), the market quickly made an impressive rebound. Real estate experts have reported that the surge in home sales toward the end of 2020 actually made up for the spring market losses.1

Will we see more of the same results in 2021? How will the housing market shake out in our current economic climate? Whether you’re selling, buying or staying put, here are the 2021 real estate trends you need to know!

Real Estate Trend #1: Slim Pickings for Home Buyers

Okay, this is probably the hardest real estate trend to swallow—so brace yourself: Inventory has been incredibly low! For perspective, inventory was down nearly 22% in November 2020 compared to the previous year.2  There just weren’t enough houses for sale over the year to meet buyer demand.

But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through what to expect if you enter the market.

What Slim Pickings Mean for Buyers

Low inventory means you need to be on your toes when you go house hunting—the best homes will likely be snatched up fast. In December 2020, more than 7 in 10 sold homes were on the market for less than a month.3 That doesn’t leave much time to hem and haw over your home search. If you want to find a good home in this slim market, here’s some advice:

  • Sacrifice some wants. If you can’t find the house you want, be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and upgrade over time.
  • Expand your search. What if the location where you’re planning to buy is too competitive? You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
  • Get preapproved ASAP. Getting preapproved for a mortgage before you go house hunting is a must in any market. But in a market with such a limited home supply, not doing this legwork ahead of time gives a preapproved buyer free reign to swipe the home you want right out of your hands.

What Slim Pickings Mean for Sellers

Low inventory means low selling competition! You can probably expect to see offer letters flooding your mailbox the same way Hogwarts sent Harry Potter his acceptance letters. Since your home will be one of the (relatively) few listed on the market, you could be in the driver’s seat. So enjoy possibly picking the best offer and moving at a pace that best suits your timeline.

Find expert agents to help you buy your home.

But after your home is sold, you probably won’t be in the driver’s seat anymore (if you’re buying again). So decide on plans for your next home before you sell.

Real Estate Trend #2: Home Prices Are Still Rising

Next up: home price trends. In November 2020, existing home prices grew by a whopping 15% compared to last year—rising to a national median of well over $300,000! This marks more than 100 straight months of year-over-year price gains. Sellers, this should put a big smile on your face! And hang tight, buyers—we have some advice for you too.

What Higher Prices Mean for Buyers

If you’re going to buy a home in this expensive market, you absolutely must find out how much house you can really afford. Commit to staying within that budget amount no matter how much pressure you feel watching competitors pluck good homes off the market.

To feel confident about buying a home this year, follow these tips:

  • Limit your house payment to no more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay. This payment includes principal, interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and, if your down payment is lower than 20%, private mortgage insurance (PMI). Plus, don’t forget to consider homeowner’s association (HOA) fees when preparing your budget.
  • Save at least a 10–20% down payment. A 20% or more down payment helps you avoid PMI—an extra fee added to your mortgage to protect your lender (not you) in case you don’t make payments. Anything less than 10% will drown you in extra interest and fees. Saving a big down payment like this is possible! If you stay patient and motivated, you can save for a five-figure down payment by this time next year.
  • Choose a 15-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage. The overall lowest cost home loan is a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Rip-off mortgages like the 30-year mortgage, FHA, VA, USDA, and adjustable-rate ones will charge you so much extra in interest and fees and keep you in debt for decades. No thanks.

Now crunch the numbers yourself with our mortgage calculator and figure out a monthly payment your budget can handle. And then work with an expert agent to find houses for sale within that budget.

For more help on buying a home in this crazy market, check out our free Home Buyers Guide. It has all the answers you need to buy a home with confidence.

What Higher Prices Mean for Sellers

A nice profit may be on the horizon! And that’s great news because you’ll really want that extra money when buying your next home. To get the best offer for your home, work with an experienced real estate agent who really knows your local market.

And be sure to wait for the right offer. Some buyers may try to gut punch you with a low number. If you aren’t in a hurry to move, wait for an offer that gives you the most profit. Remember, the less desperate person always has the upper hand when negotiating.

Real Estate Trend #3: Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Super Low

The average mortgage interest rate (that fee lenders charge as a percentage of your loan amount) has been nice and low lately. In fact, the average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.31% in November 2020—the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac started reporting nearly 30 years ago!4 And now economist geeks think interest rates will continue to hover around 3% in 2021, which is still pretty low.5

If you want to refinance or get a mortgage from a trustworthy lender who actually cares about helping you pay off your home fast, talk to our friends at Churchill Mortgage.

What Lower Rates Mean for Buyers

Sure, interest rates are low right now—which can help with affordability. Just be careful not to let that pressure you into buying a house when you aren’t really ready. A super low interest rate on a house you can’t afford is still a bad deal. So remember to stick to our advice on monthly payment limit, down payment amount and mortgage type (see Trend #2) and you’ll be in great shape!

What Lower Rates Mean for Sellers

If interest rates stay low, buyers will be more motivated to buy your home sooner than later. But if interest rates do start to increase later in the year, just plan for your house to be on the market a little longer. If you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, you might still be able to take advantage of these super low interest rates and shorten your payment schedule by refinancing your mortgage.

Real Estate Trend #4: Online Real Estate Services Are Growing

No doubt you’ve heard of real estate services like Zillow that allow you to browse or list homes for sale online with the click of a button. But did you know that online services are now offering to buy and sell your house for you?

Third-Party Buyers

Here’s how it works: You tell companies like Zillow or Opendoor about the house you want to sell. They buy it from you, pump some money into it to resell at a higher price, handle all the home processing stuff like inspections, repairs, and home showings, and then charge you pretty much the same as an agent commission for selling costs—plus, some of these companies include an additional service fee (icing on their cake). They promise less hassle, but it may mean less profit for you than working with a top-notch agent who could sell your home for more money.

Using a “Virtual” Agent

Hybrid services like Redfin aim to reduce traditional agent commissions by handling things online. This gives you partial services that are similar to working with an agent, but for a fraction of the cost. Think of it as a middle ground between selling with an agent and selling by yourself. But when selling a home, be wary of the middle ground. Your home is your biggest asset, and you get what you pay for!

Mobile or Online Closings

In related news, digital technology is also making it easier to handle document-based tasks virtually. For example, many home transactions are using electronic signature apps and remote online notarization to streamline the process.6 In other words, there’s a chance you can buy or sell a house this year without getting out of your car or ever changing out of your bathrobe and slippers.

Real Estate Trend #5: Risky Buying Options Are More Accessible

Okay, let’s cover some newer “creative” ways to purchase a home that are trending (beware!).

Rent-to-Own

First, if you’re itching to buy a home but can’t quite afford it yet, some sellers like Divvy offer a rent-to-own agreement. In this deal, you agree to rent the home for a specific amount of time (could be several months to several years) before becoming the owner. The plus side of rent-to-own is that it allows you to bypass the time it takes to save for a down payment and get into a house fast. Also, it means you don’t have to qualify for a mortgage right away.

The downside of rent-to-own is that it makes your rent more expensive because some of your monthly payment will go toward future homeownership. But if you later decide you don’t want to buy the house or something breaks your contract, all those extra payments will have been a waste. Plus, you may be required to handle repairs and maintenance yourself even while renting! This option leaves you in a very vulnerable place financially.

Bottom line: If you feel like you can’t afford homeownership, it’s best to wait until your financial ducks are in a row.

Loans for Down Payments

Another risky buying option to avoid is taking out a personal loan to fund a down payment. Purchasing a home with no money down is never a good idea. Remember, you want at least a 10–20% down payment. Buying a house with anything less will rob you of your other financial goals by having you pay too much extra in interest and fees. Thankfully, not many mortgage lenders allow you to do this—plus, it can even hinder your ability to qualify for the amount of mortgage you need.

What if I’m Not Buying or Selling a Home This Year?

You may be thinking, All this is great, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. We hear you, and here’s what you should know for now:

1. Equity probably won’t decrease through 2021.

With most housing markets at low risk for a downturn, Freddie Mac believes home prices will continue to rise in 2021—but at a slower pace of nearly 3%.7 This is still good news for sellers because you’ll likely make a nice profit when you do decide to sell. Continue to monitor how much your home is worth to make sure your equity (what your home is worth minus how much you owe on it) is going up.

2. A real estate market crash looks unlikely.

With all the uncertainty behind everything that happened in 2020 and with home price growth possibly slowing down in 2021, you might be wondering if the housing market could collapse. Well, it’s impossible to know for sure, but economists suggest a housing crash is unlikely.

After all, the super low mortgage rates are motivating buyers to enter the market, which increases demand. But there’s still a very low supply of home listings. This is keeping home buying competitive and allowing home price growth to soar.8

3. Regardless of your neighborhood, buyers are interested.

Since home prices have experienced rapid growth over the past few years, some buyers may be less choosy. In fact, determined ones might be willing to consider neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to highways or aren’t in close proximity to a big city. If you think you live in an unpopular neighborhood or believe your home isn’t what buyers are looking for, think again. Now may be your perfect time to consider selling.

Take Control of the Trends With a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re selling or buying, you can take advantage of the current trends by partnering with a professional real estate agent. Through our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program, our team will match you with agents we recommend in your area. Our real estate ELPs are top-performing professionals in your market who’ve earned our seal of trust by actually caring about your financial goals.

Find your real estate agent today!

Ramsey Solutions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.