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What is the Best Investment for Americans? by Julie Lehrer

A hand holds up a piggy bank illustrating the concept of saving for and investing in home and housing.

Some are reporting that there is trepidation regarding the real estate market in the United States. Apparently, the American people are quite comfortable.

Porch.com, a major network helping homeowners with their renovation projects, recently conducted a survey which asked Americans:

“What do you believe is the safest investment over the next 10 years?”

U.S. housing came in at number one, beating out other investments such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings.

What is the Best Investment for Americans? | Simplifying The Market

Here is a graph showing the top five investments Americans selected:The findings of the Porch.com survey also coincide with two previous surveys done earlier this year:

  1. The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2019 Consumer Expectations Housing Survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment, and that the percentage has increased in each of the last four years.
  2. The Gallup survey showed that Americans have picked real estate as the “best” investment for six straight years.

Bottom Line

Based on all three surveys done this year, we can see that Americans still believe in homeownership as a great investment, and that feeling continues to grow.

Is A Bigger House Within Your Budget? by Julie Lehrer

At this time of year, many families come together to celebrate the season. It’s also the time when many realize their homes are just not quite big enough to host all of their guests and loved ones. Are you one of those homeowners dreaming for a larger space to call home?

You may have enough equity in your current home to move up.

According to the Q3 2019 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report by ATTOM Data Solutions,

“14.4 million residential properties in the United States were considered equity rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50 percent or less of their estimated market value.”

This means that one in four of the 54 million mortgaged homes in the U.S. have at least 50% equity. If these homeowners decide to sell, they can use their equity to put toward the purchase of a new home. Maybe you’ll be one of them.

NAR recently released their 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showing that,

“This year, home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $60,000 more than they purchased it, up from $55,500 the year prior. This accounted for a 31 percent price gain, up from 29 percent the year before.”

Is A Bigger House Within Your Budget? | Simplifying The Market

Here’s the equity gain breakdown based on the number of years these sellers lived in their homes:

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many homeowners with big dreams of owning a larger home, let’s get together. Working with a trusted adviser to find out how much equity you have is a great first step in putting your move-up plan in motion.

Buyers Are Looking For Your Home by Julie Lehrer

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales are currently at an annual pace of 5.46 million.
  • The inventory of existing homes for sale remains below the 6 months needed for a normal market and is now at a 3.9-month supply.
  • Inventory remains low due to high demand from buyers who are still looking for a house to buy!

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster by Julie Lehrer

Traditional style custom kitchen with hardwood floors.

When selling your house, there are a few key things you can prioritize to have the greatest impact for a faster sale:

1. Make Buyers Feel at Home

Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make buyers feel like they belong in the house. According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors“83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”

Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that, “One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

2. Keep It Organized

Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized. Before buyers arrive, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers. Put out a scented candle or some cookies fresh from the oven. Buyers will remember the smell of your home.

3. Price It Right

More inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. A key to selling your house is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI)This means you’ll be driving more traffic to your property, and ultimately creating more interest in your home.

4. Give Buyers Full Access

One of the top four elements when selling your home is access. If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.

Bottom Line

If you want to sell your home in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible, a local real estate professional is a useful guide.

Let’s connect today to determine what you need to do to sell your home as quickly as possible.

The True Cost of Not Owning Your Home by Julie Lehrer

The True Cost of Not Owning Your Home

There are great advantages to owning a home, yet many people continue to rent. The financial benefits are just some of the reasons why homeownership has been a part of the long-standing American dream.

Realtor.com reported that:

“Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term – that remains the American dream, and it’s true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option…as people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option.”

Why is owning a home financially better than renting?

Here are the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

  1. Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
  2. Homeownership provides tax savings.
  3. Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
  4. Buying a home is less expensive than renting.
  5. No other investment lets you live inside of it.

Studies have also shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.

A family that purchased a median-priced home at the start of 2019 would build more than
$37,750 in family wealth over the next five years with projected price appreciation alone.

Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment – along with a profit margin!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has many social and financial benefits that cannot be achieved by renting.

Let’s connect to determine if buying a home is your best move.

Taking the Fear Out of the Mortgage Process by Julie Lehrer

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from the real estate market because they’re uncertain about the buying process – particularly when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need a down payment (the average down payment on all loans last year was 5%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income, and a good credit history.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history and credit score– Even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score® for all closed loans in September was 737, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation– This includes income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional– Your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer who can help you develop a spending plan, as well as help you determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender– He or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval– A pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change) and demonstrates to home sellers that you’re serious about buying.

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure you’re ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

6 Graphs Showing the Strength of the Current Housing Market

6 Graphs Showing the Strength of the Current Housing Market

Some Highlights:

  • Keeping an eye on the current status of the housing market is one of the best ways to make powerful and confident decisions when buying or selling a home.
  • Mortgage rates remaining near historic lows and houses selling in an average of only 29 days are just two key elements driving the strength of today’s market.
  • With the national data shown here, make sure to also determine what’s happening in your local market so you are fully informed when you’re ready to make your next move.