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Don’t Let Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Dreams

If you’re looking to buy a home, you may be wondering how your student loan debt could impact those plans. Do you have to wait until you’ve paid off your student loans before you can buy your first home? Or could you qualify for a home loan with that debt?

To give you the answers you’re searching for, let’s take a look at what recent data shows. That way, you know what to expect and what to do next to achieve your dream of becoming a homeowner. While everyone’s situation is unique, your goal may be more within your reach than you realize.

Do you have to delay your plans because of student loans?

If you’re worried your student loans mean you have to put your homeownership goals on hold, you’re not alone. In fact, many first-time buyers believe they have to delay their plans. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

When asked specifically about purchasing a home, half of nonhomeowners say student loan debt is delaying them from purchasing a home (51%).”

When asked why their student loans are putting their plans on the back burner, three key themes emerged:

  • 47% say their student loans make it harder to save for a down payment
  • 45% say they think they can’t qualify for a home loan because of existing debt
  • 43% say they believe the delay is necessary even though they’ve never applied for a mortgage

No matter which reason resonates most with you, you should know a delay may not be necessary. Here’s why.

Can you qualify for a home loan if you have student loans?

In the same NAR report, data shows many current homeowners have student loan debt themselves:

“Nearly one-quarter of all home buyers, and 37% of first-time buyers, had student debt, with a typical amount of $30,000.”

That means other people in a similar situation were able to qualify for and buy a home even though they also had student loan debt. You may be able to do the same, especially if you have a steady source of income. Apartment Therapy drives this point home:

“. . . buying a home with student loans is possible, experts say. The proof is in the numbers, too: Some 40 percent of first-time homebuyers have student loan debt, according to the NAR study.”

The key takeaway is, for many people, homeownership is achievable even with student loans. 

The best way to make a decision about your goals and next steps is to talk to the professionals. A real estate advisor can walk you through your specific situation, your options, and what has worked for other buyers like you. They can also connect you with other professionals in the industry who can help. You don’t have to figure this out on your own – lean on the experts so you have the information you need to make an informed, confident decision.

Bottom Line

Many other buyers with student loan debt are already achieving their homeownership dreams. Maybe it’s time to take the next step toward making yours a reality. Let’s connect to discuss your options and find out how close you are to achieving your goal.

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How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search

Some Highlights

  • If your workplace is delaying its return to office plans or is allowing permanent work from home options, that may open up new possibilities for your home search.
  • Ongoing remote work could give you the chance for a change in scenery, a move to an area with a lower cost of living, or finding a home with more home office space.
  • If you want to learn more about how remote work can give you more options, let’s connect to discuss your situation and priorities for your home search.
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Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households

If your needs are changing, you may be thinking about sharing a home with additional loved ones, such as grandparents, adult children, or other extended family members. Whether it’s for financial or health-related circumstances, or simply because you’ve reached a new phase of life, you might be wondering if living with multiple generations under the same roof is a good move for you. Many people have found themselves in a similar situation and they’ve already made the choice to live in a multigenerational home.

What Is a Multigenerational Home?

The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. They include households with grandparents and grandchildren under the age of 25. As you weigh your options and decide if multigenerational living is right for you, here’s some helpful information highlighted by other homeowners living with additional loved ones.

The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

A recent report from Generations United surveyed individuals living in a multigenerational setting and asked them about the key benefits of this housing arrangement. It says:

Nearly all Americans who live in a multigenerational household (98%) feel their household functions successfully, citing various aspects of home design, family relationships and interactions, and supports and services influencing their success.”

The study identifies some of the top benefits of this lifestyle as an improved financial situation, better mental and physical health, strengthened bonds with loved ones, and more (see chart below):

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

Those are just some of the reasons why most people who decide to live in this situation find it worthwhile. As Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, says:

Families may come together from need, but they are staying together by choice. Indeed, more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) of those currently living in a multigenerational household plan to continue doing so long-term.”

With More Adults Living Under One Roof, You May Need More Space

If you decide to look for a multigenerational home, it’s important to understand what everyone will need to make the arrangement work to its fullest. Something that often makes the top of the list for homeowners living with multiple generations is additional space for privacy. This could mean more bedrooms and bathrooms or features like an in-law suite or a basement.

If you’re realizing your current house doesn’t provide the room you need for multigenerational living, an expert real estate advisor can help you navigate the process to find the right home that works for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

Living in a multigenerational household has real and impactful benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about these options in our local area, let’s connect so you can find a home that fits your changing needs.

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Why a Move Could Bring You More Happiness This Year

Over the past two years, we’ve lived through one of the most stressful periods in recent history. Because of the health crisis, many of us have spent more time at home and that’s led us to re-evaluate both what we need in a house and how much we appreciate having a safe space. If you’ve found your current home isn’t filling all your needs, you may be wondering if it’s time to find a new one.

There’s reason to believe a change of scenery could boost your happiness. Catherine Hartley, an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Psychology and co-author of a study on how new experiences impact happiness, says:

Our results suggest that people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines—when they go to novel places and have a wider array of experiences.”

A move could be exactly the new experience you’ve been looking for. If that’s something you’re considering to better your lifestyle, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Approach Your Decision Thoughtfully and Explore Your Options

Buying and selling a home is a major life change, and it’s not a decision you should enter lightly. But, if you’re questioning whether or not a move would bring you more happiness, it’s important to explore if it’s the right choice for you.

To find out more and discuss your options, reach out to a local real estate professional. They’ll explain the process – including how to list your existing house and search for a new one – in clear and simple terms.

You should also think about your lifestyle and what you’re hoping to get out of your move. What needs aren’t being met in your current home? What features would bring you more joy and make your life easier? For example, are you now working remotely and need a home office? Do you crave more fresh air and open outdoor space to unwind in? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you get started and position your real estate advisor to work with you so you can find just the right home.

Consider a Location with Weather That Will Boost Your Mood

Home features aren’t the only thing to consider. You should also weigh your options when it comes to location. Is the weather something that’s important to you? Does it have a tendency to impact your mood? If it does, you may want to factor it into your next move. The World Population Review shares:

“What states have the best weather? When evaluating each state for temperature, rain, and sun, some states stand out. . . . Climate and weather preferences are personal and subjective. . . . “

Better weather can mean different things to different people. Some prefer the heat, others cooler temperatures, and some want to experience all four seasons. Think about what makes you feel happiest and prioritize that in your home search. If you’re moving to a whole new location, your agent is a great resource with a strong network to support you along the way.

Bottom Line

Moving could provide you with a fresh beginning and the chance to find happiness in your new home. Let’s connect today to talk about your goals and options in the current market.

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The Next Generation of Homebuyers Is Here

Many members of Generation Z (Gen Z) are aging into adulthood and deciding whether to rent or buy a home. If you find yourself in this group, it’s important to understand you’re never too young to start thinking about homeownership. The sooner you start planning, the sooner you can move on from renting.

As you set off on your journey and plan your next move, here are a few reasons to think about homebuying this year.

The Reasons Gen Z Want To Become Homeowners

While the majority of Gen Z haven’t entered the housing market yet, a large portion plan to according to a realtor.com report. The report found that 72% of Gen Z would rather purchase a home than rent long-term. As George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for realtor.com, says:

“With nearly three-quarters of those surveyed preferring to buy versus renting long-term, the housing industry should be prepared for millions of Gen Z buyers to bring a new wave of demand along a similar stage-of-life timeline as the millennial generation before them.”

But why do so many members of Gen Z value homeownership? According to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), young homebuyers – more than any other age group – want to become homeowners because they want to have a place of their very own.

That may be because one of the biggest benefits of homeownership is having a place that you can truly make your own by customizing it to your style and personality. Whether that’s the décor, painting, or renovations, when you own your home, you don’t have to limit yourself to what your lease and landlord will allow.

Not to mention, owning a home provides much greater long-term stability and security than renting. When you own a home, there’s also protection from steadily rising rental costs because your monthly mortgage payment is locked in for the length of your loan (typically 15 to 30 years).

Work with a Real Estate Professional To Achieve Your Goals

Whether you’re just getting started on your homebuying journey, you want to learn more about the process, or you’re fully committed to buying your first home this year, it’s especially important to connect with a trusted real estate advisor soon, as you won’t be the only first-time buyer in the market. According to a recent survey from realtor.coma majority of first-time buyers surveyed are looking to purchase a home in 2022. As the survey notes:

“First-time home buyers retain their optimism despite a challenging housing market in the past year. Hoping to achieve their goal of homeownership and provide a comfortable space for their families, young buyers are setting out to learn what they can about the market and setting their list of priorities for their home purchase.”

That means you’ll likely face strong competition from other first-time buyers. One way to get a leg-up on that competition is to work with a real estate professional to make sure you have the support you need to make an informed and confident decision.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning your next move, you’re not alone. Just know it’s never too early to consider the benefits of homeownership over renting. To learn more, let’s connect today so you have a trusted professional on your side to help you explore your options.

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Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home

Since the pandemic began, Americans have reevaluated the meaning of the word home. That’s led some renters to realize the many benefits of homeownership, including the feelings of security and stability and the financial benefits that come with rising home equity. At the same time, many current homeowners have decided their house no longer meets their needs, so they moved into homes with more space inside and out, including a home office for remote work.

However, not every purchaser has been able to fulfill their desire for a new home. Here are two obstacles some homebuyers are facing:

  • The ability to save for a down payment
  • The ability to qualify for a mortgage at the current lending standards

This past week, both of those challenges have been mitigated to some degree for many purchasers. The FHFA (which handles mortgages by Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration) is raising its loan limit for prospective purchasers in 2022. The term used to describe the maximum loan amount they will entertain is the Conforming Loan Limit.

What Is the Difference Between a Conforming Loan and a Non-Conforming Loan?

Investopedia explains the difference in a recent post:

“Conforming loans are the only loans that meet the requirements to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming limit, are the most common type of nonconforming loan.”

What Difference Does It Make to Me as a Home Buyer?

Forbes article earlier this year explains the benefits of a conforming loan and why they exist:

“Since lenders can’t sell non-conforming loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to free up their cash, they’re a bit riskier for the lender. This is especially true for jumbo loans, which aren’t backed by any government guarantees. If you default on a jumbo loan, it’s a huge blow to the lender.

Thus, lenders generally charge higher interest rates to compensate, and they can have even more requirements. For example, lenders who give out jumbo loans often require that you make a down payment of at least 20% and show that you have at least six months’ worth of cash in reserve, if not more.”

What Happened Last Week?

The FHFA has significantly increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA Acting Director, explains in the press release that:

“Compared to previous years, the 2022 Conforming Loan Limits represent a significant increase due to the historic house price appreciation over the last year. While 95 percent of U.S. countie​s will be subject to the new baseline limit of $647,200, approximately 100 counties will have conforming loan limits approaching $1 million.”

This means that more homes now qualify for a conforming loan with lower down payment requirements and easier lending standards – the two challenges holding many buyers back over the last year.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. That could also mean an easier path to homeownership for many prospective buyers. As the Forbes article explains:

“FHA loans can be very beneficial if you don’t have as much savings, or if your credit score could use some work.”

Bottom Line

Buying your first or your next home may have just gotten much easier (less stringent qualifying standards) and less expensive (possibly lower mortgage rate). Let’s connect to discuss how these changes may impact you.

Resources:
  1. To get more information on the new FHFA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
  2. To get more information on the new FHA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
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Tips for Single Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality

If you’re living on your own and looking to buy a home, know that you can make your dream a reality with thoughtful planning and the right team of experts. Research from Freddie Mac shows 28% of all households (36.1 million) are sole-person, and that number is growing. Over the past 40 years, the number of sole-person households has nearly doubled, and that’s a trend that’s expected to continue. According to Freddie Mac:

Our calculation suggests that there will be an additional 5 million sole-person households in the United States by the next decade. This means 42% of the household growth will be contributed by sole-person households, . . .”

If you fall into this category, here are three tips to help you achieve your homeownership goals.

1. Know Your Credit Score

When you buy a home on your own, you have to qualify for your loan based solely on your own finances and credit history. Investopedia says:

“. . . lenders will be looking at just one credit profile: yours. Needless to say, it has to be in great shape. It is always a good idea to review your credit report beforehand, and this is especially true of solo buyers.”

It’s important to find out your score so you know where it falls. If you’re not sure if it’s strong enough or where to focus your energy to improve it, meet with a professional for expert advice on your individual situation.

2. Explore Down Payment Options

Next, look into down payment programs so you can get a feel for what you’ll need to save to buy a home. Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resourceexplains:

“Buyers should discuss their program options with their loan officer and real estate agent to make sure they choose the program best suited to their personal needs.”

In this step, lean on the pros to determine what you’re eligible for and what’s right for you.

3. Think About Your Future Home and Your Needs

You should also spend time thinking about what you want. What type of home do you picture yourself in? To answer that question, Quicken Loans shares this advice:

Think about your lifestyle, what you want out of your home and your needs. Is being close to work important? Do you need a lot of yard space? Do you want an extra bedroom that you can transform into a home office? Condo or detached home? Lots of space for entertaining? It’s all up to you (and your budget).”

Again, a professional can help you balance what you want and how much you should spend on your monthly housing costs to determine what type of home is right for you.

While buying a home solo can feel like a big challenge, it doesn’t have to be. If you lean on the professionals, they can help you navigate these waters and make sure you’re able to take advantage of the great opportunities in today’s housing market (like low mortgage rates) to buy your dream home.

Bottom Line

The share of sole-person households is growing. If you’re looking to buy a home on your own, be confident that the dream is achievable. When you’re ready to begin your search, let’s connect so you have expert advice each step of the way.

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How To Think Strategically as a Buyer in Today’s Market

The game of chess can provide incredible lessons to apply to all aspects of life, including the homebuying process. Chess requires you to plan and think about your strategy from the very beginning of the game.

The homebuying process, like chess, requires strategy and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plan is as strong as possible when you begin your home search.

Pre-Approval: the Best Opening Play To Make as a Homebuyer

It’s important to have a great opening play when you’re buying a home. And the best move you can make when you begin your home search is getting pre-approved by a lender. You’ve probably already heard this is an important step, but what exactly is pre-approval and what benefits does it provide you?

As Freddie Mac puts it:

“The pre-approval letter from your lender tells you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Getting a pre-approval letter is not a loan guarantee, it simply states how much your lender is willing to lend you. . . .”

And while determining how much you can afford at the start of your search is critical, the pre-approval letter also serves another important purpose. Freddie Mac also notes:

“This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer.”

In the game of chess, a strong opening move signals to your opponent that you’re a serious competitor. As a homebuyer, your pre-approval letter signals to the seller that you’re a serious, interested buyer.

Homebuying: It’s a Team Game, Not a Single-Player Experience

Every step you take to create your strategy as a buyer is important in today’s market. Why? Mortgage rates are still low, but increasing. Prices are going up. There’s a limited supply of homes for sale. These are just a few key variables in today’s market you need to be prepared for.

That means leaning on expert guidance as you plan every move is more important than ever. Have a team of professionals – like your trusted real estate agent and a loan officer – every step of the way to make sure you make the right moves.

Bottom Line

Getting a pre-approval letter isn’t just good strategy, it can be game-changing. It allows you to get a full understanding of what you can afford, and it signals to sellers that you’re serious. Let’s connect today to ensure you’re playing chess and being strategic during the home buying process.

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How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates

Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac inched up to 3.1%, and experts project rates will continue rising through 2022:

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.9% in the third quarter of 2021. We forecast mortgage rates to increase slightly through the remainder of the year and reach 3.0%, rising to 3.5% for full year 2022.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can succeed even as mortgage rates rise.

Taking Time Off Can Be Costly

How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Mortgage rates play a significant role in your home search. As rates go up, your monthly mortgage payment increases if you’re buying a home, directly affecting how much you can afford. And even the smallest increase can have a large impact on your monthly payment (see chart below):With mortgage rates on the rise, you’ve likely seen your purchasing power impacted already. Instead of waiting and hoping rates will fall, today’s rates should motivate you to purchase now before rates increase more.

Smart Buyers Can Succeed by Planning Ahead

You can use your newfound motivation to energize your search and plan your next steps accordingly so you’re prepared to act no matter what happens with mortgage rates. One way to do that: take rising rates into consideration as part of your budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, puts it best, saying:

“Smart buyers should consider calculating a monthly payment not only at today’s rates, but also at rates that are a bit higher so that they won’t be derailed by a sudden upward move. . . .”

You should also be ready to act when you find the home that meets your needs. That means getting pre-approved with a lender so there won’t be any delays when the time arrives.

The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate advisor now. An agent can connect you with a lender, help you adjust your search based on your budget, and be ready to act quickly when it’s time to make an offer.

Bottom Line

Serious buyers should approach rising rates as a motivating factor to buy sooner, not a reason to wait. Waiting will cost you more in the long run. Let’s connect today so you can better understand your budget and be prepared to buy your home even before rates climb higher.

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Renters Missed Out on $51,500 This Past Year

Rents have increased significantly this year. The latest National Rent Report from Apartmentlist.com shows rents are rising at a rate much higher than the three years leading up to the pandemic:

“Since January of this year, the national median rent has increased by a staggering 16.4 percent. To put that in context, rent growth from January to September averaged just 3.4 percent in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”

Renters Missed Out on $51,500 This Past Year | MyKCM

Looking back, we can see rents rising isn’t new. The median rental price has increased consistently over the past 33 years (see graph below):If you’re thinking of renting for another year, consider that rents will likely be even higher next year. But that alone doesn’t paint the picture of the true cost of renting.

The Money Renters Stand To Lose This Year

A homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment pays for their shelter, but it also acts as an investment. That investment grows in the form of equity as a homeowner makes their mortgage payment each month to pay down what they owe on their home loan. Their equity gets an additional boost from home price appreciation, which is at near-record levels this year.

The latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic found homeowners gained significant wealth through their home equity this past year. The research shows:

“. . . the average homeowner gained approximately $51,500 in equity during the past year.”

As a renter, you don’t get the same benefit. Your rent payment only covers the cost of shelter and any included amenities. None of your monthly rent payments come back to you as an investment. That means, by renting this year, you likely paid more in rent than you did in the previous year, and you also missed out on the potential wealth gain of $51,500 you could have had by owning your own home.

Bottom Line 

When deciding whether you should rent or buy in the future, keep in mind how much renting can cost you. Another year of renting is another year you’ll pay rising rents and miss out on building your wealth through home equity. Let’s connect today to talk more about the benefits of buying over renting.