Now Could Be the Best Time to Sell Your Home

Key Takeaways:

  • Shifting buyer demand creates lucrative opportunities for decisive sellers
  • Higher mortgage rates have set fire to this already hot housing market
  • Don’t delay—now is the time to contact us and get your home on the market!

The current housing market

With a sudden jump in home listings recently, today’s hot housing market has many homeowners wondering if now is the best time to sell. Of course, trying to time the market perfectly is challenging, though if there ever was a time to sell, this is absolutely a great one. 

Everyone’s situation is different, but if you’ve been thinking about selling your home lately, contact us today to begin the process and maximize your success. 

The supply of homes for sale, explained 

Saleswoman giving home keys to new property owner.

Compared with last year, the supply of homes for sale jumped 9% in May, which is striking considering the historically low supply of home inventory that has defined the US housing market this year. 

As sellers rushed to put their properties onto the market and cash in their equity gains, new home listings rose nearly twice as fast as a year ago in May, while pending home sales fell by almost 4% in April. And with sales of newly built homes dropping by a much broader 16% compared with March, this marked the sixth straight month of sales declines. 

To fully appreciate this drop-off, consider that this softening in demand for housing marks the greatest slowdown on record in nearly a decade. 

Home sales are slowing because mortgage rates have risen sharply since the start of the year, with the most significant gains coming in April and early May. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage started the year close to 3% and is now well over 5%, causing new home buyers to slow down a bit.

The reality of rising mortgage rates

Businessperson's Hand Protecting Balance Between Percentage Red Cubic Block And House Model On Wooden Seesaw

While homeowners and homebuyers certainly enjoyed locking in 30-year fixed mortgages at the historic low of 2.68% in December 2020, this is far from the norm. It was only a few years ago, during the decade of the 2010’s, that mortgage rates averaged between 3.45% to 4.87%—not that far off from today’s average of just over 5%. 

If you step back even further in time, the absolute highest mortgage rate was a whopping 18.45% in 1981! Like today, that was due to the Federal Reserve raising the federal funds rate to combat inflation, causing mortgage rates to spike. But unlike potential homebuyers in 1981, we have good news on the horizon, as we’re seeing mortgage and refinance rates start to decline for the first time in weeks and the economy showing signs of stabilizing. 

An overdue housing market correction

Chart showing home values changing over time.

If you’re still worried about the housing market, you don’t need to. The good news in these reports is that homes are still selling, and in many cases, they’re still selling above their asking price. The housing market is cooling down due to a lull in buyer demand. However, this cooldown is a much-needed correction to what has been a short-term housing market fueled by the pandemic. 

The critical difference in the market now is that with fewer buyers competing with one another over available housing, home prices rose another 21% in May, meaning equity gains are still there for homeowners. And if you’re looking to sell to downsize and lower your monthly expenses, you’ll be perfectly positioned to find your ideal home with fewer buyers competing with you in the market.

Sell Now for Your Best Return

If you’re considering selling your home, this may be the best possible time to list. With a trusted, experienced real estate team behind you, you can rest easy knowing that we’ve seen the ups and downs of the market over the years. You can always make a smart move, so contact us today to discuss your options!

Inflation – and Home Values – Are Up. Should You Sell?

Key Takeaways:

  • Home values are rising faster than inflation, making homes a prized asset
  • This housing market offers unique opportunities for buyers and sellers
  • Contact us today to secure your assets and safeguard your future!

The state of real estate and inflation

As inflation soars to near 40-year highs and raises the cost of everything, many are looking for innovative ways to secure their assets against inflationary losses. Additionally, given the housing market’s recent volatility (primarily driven by historic low levels of housing inventory that have caused an imbalance between supply and demand), it’s understandable that many might consider real estate to be a wrong or risky move right now. But the great news is that nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s explore how and why buying or selling a home can safeguard you against inflation. 

The housing market can protect you from inflation

Image of homes and a graph representing housing market and inflation.

Real estate remains a stable area for investment and profit realization because a home’s value does not increase in relation to currency; it increases based on demand. So if you’ve been holding back from buying because of today’s market pressures, consider that inflation is up even more than mortgage interest rates, making it a smart move. Similarly, if you’re considering selling, the demand for housing has never been greater, which is terrific news for anyone looking to cash out their equity to hedge against inflation. 

Buying a home: by the numbers

Couple showing keys to new home.

Let’s take a look at some numbers. Experts estimate that Americans face an annualized inflation rate of around 15%. Considering that, the current 5% mortgage rate is a bargain for homebuyers in the short term. Moreover, you’re securing an asset that, over time, will increase. And, as you pay down your mortgage, even at 5%, your equity will continue to grow. 

Selling a home: by the numbers

Senior Adult Couple in Front of Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful House.

It’s no secret to homeowners that their home equity values have grown over the last couple of years. According to research firm Black Knight, at the end of 2021, Americans were sitting on record-high home equity levels of approximately $9.9 million. So if you’ve noticed homes in your neighborhood selling above their listing price and you’ve been on the fence about selling yourself, now may be a good time to cash in on this opportunity.

Both buyers and sellers can make tremendous gains

Happy family with children moving with boxes in a new house.

In a hot housing market where home inventory is low, competition is fierce, and home equity values are at all-time highs, buyers and sellers can start to feel overwhelmed. But don’t despair: an increase in mortgage rates isn’t stopping homes from selling quickly, nor is it preventing home equities from appreciating. For example, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), properties remained on the market for just 17 days in March, with many going for over the asking price!

With more buyers than sellers today, current homeowners looking to sell to fight inflation have the advantage of likely bidding wars, resulting in greater profits and fast-moving homes that don’t stay on the market for very long. For those looking towards homeownership to protect their assets against inflation, reassurance comes from knowing that demand is expected to outpace supply for the foreseeable future, meaning that home equities will continue to rise. And if inflation continues, fixed-rate interest rates will drop again, creating the perfect opportunity to refinance your loan. 

Get Ready to Make Your Move

The first step to buying and selling is crunching the numbers. Our team will help you find the real, up-to-the-minute value of your home using the latest microdata and neighborhood trends. Then, we’ll work with you to figure out the best strategy to shelter your investments and assets from inflation. Contact us today!

Should You Be Worried About a Housing Bubble?

Key Takeaways:

  • Real Estate Bubbles: what are they, are we in one now, and why there’s no cause for alarm.
  • It’s natural to compare today to 2008, but this housing market is vastly different.
  • You can lean on our expertise! We’ve seen all types of markets, so reach out with questions.

With home prices soaring to levels never before seen, it is undeniable that the U.S. housing market is in uncharted territory, with many industry experts speculating that we’re in the midst of yet another housing bubble. However, like snowflakes, every bubble is created differently and is unique. 

As mortgage rates rise and rumors of another crash in the housing market fill the news cycle, it may be tempting to get cold feet and postpone your homeownership dreams. But as we’ll explore below, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of housing bubbles, what causes them and why it’s a term you needn’t fear.

What exactly is a bubble within the housing market?

house property prices bubble of the investment loan interest rate on mortgage

In basic terms, a real-estate bubble is a temporary economic event that occurs periodically and refers to an increase in the overall value of the housing market. When a bubble grows, home values increase; when a bubble pops, property values decrease.

Simple enough, but, what causes the housing market to experience bubbles?

Traditionally, the Law of Supply and Demand dictate a property’s market value. For example, when the demand for housing is high, and supply is low, home prices often rise, typically resulting in a seller’s market. Conversely, when housing supply is high but demand is low, market values fall, resulting in a buyer’s market. However, additional factors such as speculative investing, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) panic buying, and risky lending (such as occurred in the 2008 Housing Crash) are all elements that influence the growth and burst of housing market bubbles.  

Why you don’t need to fear housing bubbles

Loving young couple looking at dream house.

We can always count on the old axiom in real estate: “You can never enter the same river twice.” (Fun fact: Greek philosopher Heraclitus came up with that lasting gem!)

What is meant by this is that history does not strictly repeat itself, and for us today in the real estate market, that means that it’s not 2008. As mentioned above, though the market moves in cyclical fashions, most experts do not believe that The Great Recession is repeating itself in today’s market.   

2022 is not 2008 repeating itself

Young woman holding home keys while hugging boyfriend in their new apartment after buying real estate.

The infamous U.S. housing bubble of the mid-2000s had its origins in the unprecedented growth of the subprime mortgage market. Additionally, U.S. government-sponsored mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made home loans accessible to borrowers with low credit scores and a higher risk of defaulting on those loans. 

None of this is happening today. 

The current market demand is not the result of easy lending. Instead, today’s rising property values result from the natural market forces of a low supply in housing inventory meeting high demand. But with new home construction expected to surge in the second half of the year, this will help ease demand in the future and stabilize the market overall.

Regardless of whether you’re selling your home or are a first-time homebuyer, the key takeaway for you is this: today’s high home values are not likely to crash any time soon, so it is as good a time as any to enter the market.

You Can Count on Us in Uncertain Times

If you’re feeling unsure about whether to buy or sell a home right now, reach out and rely on our expertise to guide you to make a sound financial decision. Our team has the experience and knows our local market, so contact us today and we’ll work with you to find the right strategy for your situation.

Oil and Gas Prices on the Rise: How It Changes Real Estate

Key Takeaways:

  1. Oil and gas prices are the highest in United States history!
  2. Individuals and families are shifting how they think about housing, from suburban versus urban to downsizing or going multigenerational.
  3. It’s critical to work with an agent who understands the right fit for you and your family.

Record-high oil and gas prices are changing home buying and selling

It’s difficult to escape the news: gas prices are surging across the nation, with the increase averaging $1 per gallon. With costs at historical highs, the ripple effect changes how we think about everything. That includes the largest line item on any household’s budget: their home. How will this new reality change how people buy and sell real estate? Let’s take a look at some of the main considerations. 

Urban Versus Suburban

Person filling car with gasoline and check balance at the gas pump.

Traditional wisdom says that the suburbs are more affordable with their long commutes, while cities are expensive due to more amenities and desirability. But when the daily commute costs more than it ever has in the history of the country, the conventional advice isn’t necessarily the right move for everyone.

To judge whether relocating from the suburban to the urban is right for you, take a look at the commute time, proximity of local amenities, and public transportation. Some urban centers offer more robust and reliable options for getting around, while others are still heavily car-dependent. If moving into the city won’t get you out of your car, the suburbs are still a good choice. But big city living is an attractive option if you can reduce how often your family drives—or even go from a multi-car family to a single vehicle. 

Reconsider Your Housing Footprint 

Portrait of happy extended multigenerational family all together on sofa at home.

The size of a home is always a big consideration when you’re looking at your next place. Right now, there’s the added pressure of the costs of heating and cooling a home to consider when you think about total square footage. On average, the cost of natural gas is up 24% in February 2022 compared to the previous year, and electricity is up 9%. 

Downsizing can be a smart reason to sell your home and buy a new one, especially if your family situation has changed and you don’t need as much space. With less to heat, cool, and maintain, finding a home that’s just the right size for the stage of life you’re in is something your agent can help you with. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, families started moving back in together at rising rates. Now, more than 40% of homebuyers consider multigenerational living in their purchasing decision.  New developments are dedicated to building homes and communities that accommodate people at different stages of their lives. And, if the family situation changes, being able to rent out a dedicated space is an excellent source of passive income. 

Whether you’re looking to go small by yourself or go big and share the costs, homes that are renovated with energy-efficient appliances, or new construction with the latest smart home technologies, are especially attractive. These are smart decisions to make now that will also save you costs in the long run, even when oil and gas prices stabilize. 

Act Fast to Lock in Interest Rates

House Model Near Percentage Sign With Keypad Lock Over Wooden Desk

Gas prices are tied closely to mortgage rates. Yep, it really does affect everything! Mortgage lenders want to have an extra cushion over inflation when they set rates, and with the rise of oil and gas prices, interest rates will get pushed up too. If you’re buying a home, it’s time to get serious about making offers. Higher mortgage rates will impact what you can afford. 

For sellers, this can impact the white-hot housing market streak that was the dominant theme for the last few years. With interest rates set to rise, home sellers may want to be flexible about offers, in case the market shifts dramatically as interest rates go up throughout the remainder of the year. Of course, this varies widely by market, and you’ll want to consult your agent before making any decisions on offers on your home. 

Make Your Move

There’s no time to wait—with the market changing this rapidly, you’ll want to leave yourself enough time to have options and make a well-informed decision. That’s why you need to work with an agent that understands the ups and downs of this historic market and considers the needs of you and your family. Contact us today to get started!

How Will Inflation Affect the Housing Market?

Key Takeaways:

  • The historic low housing inventory creates value opportunities in competitive housing markets.
  • Anticipation of new home listings to hit a 10-year high as some owners see right now as the best time to sell.
  • Condo and rental demand are likely to surge as inventory supply chain issues impact the housing market.

This Year Will Bring Balance to the Housing Market

After two consecutive years in which words like “unprecedented,” “historic,” and “white-hot” have been buzzing about, we can now add “inflation” to the list. 

What is inflation, and how will it affect the real estate market in 2022?

Real estate is not immune from the inflationary effects of declining purchasing power on an economy. When prices go up, so do the costs associated with real estate. In a nutshell, that’s how inflation works; like a rising tide lifts all boats, so does inflation with rising costs. However, there are always reasons to be genuinely confident in real estate’s proven ability to hedge against inflation and be profitable. 

Here are three particulars and tips to help you navigate these inflationary waters and better prepare you to make your move when you decide it’s time to do so. 

#1: Low Housing Inventory Drives Values

Dictionary showing the word inflation being highlighted.

With the market expected to remain undersupplied throughout the year and with this year already seeing historic low numbers in housing inventory, continued supply chain issues, and material costs resulting from inflationary pressure will undoubtedly influence the market. Many analysts are anticipating a modest 3% growth in home values, compared to the 24% return that last year saw.

Historically, it is well-documented that real estate remains profitable when inflation affects an economy. One reason is that landlords can always pass their cost increases off to their tenants. But the real lesson here is the age-old axiom that scarcity creates value. So instead of seeing the record-low number of housing inventory as something to steer clear of, it means that while there may be much competition in home buying, that’s because of the value of being a homeowner.

#2: New Listings to Hit 10-Year High

Image showing a couple signing real estate documents with money in front of them.

The end of double-digit price growth in home values will also encourage more homeowners to cash out finally, which will create more inventory in the market. But as the market settles down and becomes more balanced, homeowners will also be more inclined to list their homes to offset inflationary pressures elsewhere, though it will not be enough to meet the expected historical demand in 2022. This increase in listings of existing homes will also coincide with a slight increase in the listings of newly constructed homes, similarly expected to be the highest in a decade. 

New home inventory should increase from 2021’s bottom, but we anticipate the market will remain undersupplied. In particular, the entry-level supply of new home construction will remain highly constrained. 

#3: Condo and Rental Demand Will Take Off

Image showing a luxury condominium overlooking several swimming pools.

2022 will also see the end of mortgage forbearance, which along with inflationary pressures, will cause many homeowners to sell and rent instead. This surge in rental costs and demand will create opportunities for others looking to get into the housing market. As a result, expect rents to increase 7% by the end of 2022, more than double the predicted year-over-year growth in home prices of 3%, once again proving that homeownership is always a more reliable use and investment of your money. 

As the pandemic subsides, more people will live in cities once again where renting is more common. Additionally, the strong labor market will cause many movers wanting to move into a new town the opportunity to get to know their new city before they commit to homeownership. 

The Market Is Moving—Get Started Now

There’s always much to consider when buying a new home. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking for your next, understanding the more significant economic trends is always important to maximize your efforts’ success. So contact us today and let us know how we can help support you in your journey.

The Top 4 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home with a Pool

Key Takeaways:

  • Pools are a highly coveted amenity, and having one of your own comes with quite a few perks.
  • Want to know the ins and outs of pool ownership? We’ve outlined some must-ask questions that every homebuyer should consider.
  • No matter what kind of home you’re looking to buy, you can always reach out to us for advice—give us a call to start your next chapter!

Here Are the Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Home with a Pool

If you’re in the market for a new home, a pool might be at the top of your wishlist—and having one comes with quite a few health, entertaining, and financial benefits! However, before you commit to buying a home with this luxurious feature, there are some questions you might want to ask first.

Want to learn the ins and outs of buying a home that comes with a pool? Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the most common types of pools?

Pool with deck and chairs

Generally, most pools fall into two categories: above-ground and in-ground. Above-ground pools cost less to maintain and are statistically safer. However, in-ground pools blend into your yard’s natural landscape, and because they’re permanent, they may increase your home’s value over time.

Pools can also be subdivided into a number of other categories based on their materials (fiberglass, concrete, etc.), the type of water (fresh or saltwater), and styles (lap pools, infinity pools, or spas). It’s best to do plenty of research in advance and ask your agent for more details on a home’s pool.

What should I know about pool maintenance?

Cleaning a pool

In most cases, pools cost around $100 or more each month to maintain and can require an hour of work per week depending on the season. However, this number varies based on your location and whether or not you use a professional service.

As a pool owner, you’ll be responsible for cleaning any debris, adding pool chemicals, as well as maintaining the pump and filter. You may also want to periodically test pH levels, vacuum your pool, and use cleaners to shock the water.

Over time, your pool will require more expensive maintenance, especially if a part goes bad or there’s a problem with the overall structure. If you have any concerns, your agent can be a helpful resource as you weigh the pros and cons.

Should I worry about pool safety?

If you plan on having children or pets near your pool, you want to ensure that it has the latest safety features. Fencing, mesh covers, and pool alarms add another layer of protection for all ages. If a pool doesn’t already have these upgrades, you’ll want to factor in the cost of adding them. More costly gadgets—such as alarms and fences—will set you back a few hundred dollars.

Will home inspectors check a pool?

Checking a pool's chemical levels

Home inspectors almost always check a pool during their evaluation. However, if they aren’t well-versed in the specifics of pool maintenance, they may miss some critical issues. If you have any in-depth questions about a pool’s condition, hire a professional pool inspector before the closing. They’ll go beyond a general checklist and give you a thorough look at any problems a pool might have. Most pool inspectors will also provide an itemized list of potential repairs that can help you negotiate the final price of a home.

Want to know some of the most common red flags inspectors might point out? Be wary of any cracks in the pool’s interior, foul-smelling or off-color water, clogged filters, or broken equipment.

Ready to Have Some Fun in the Sun?

Pools can require some effort and money to maintain, but you simply can’t beat the benefits of having your own swimming space. If you’re dreaming of buying a home with a pool, we’d love to help you track down your perfect place! Just give us a call to get started—we look forward to working with you!

Selling a home with a pool? Contact us to learn more about getting top-dollar in no time at all.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Automatic Home Estimators to Price Your Home

Key Takeaways:

  • Automatic estimator tools are popular amongst homeowners and sellers, but they aren’t always the most reliable.
  • In some instances, these estimators can be off by thousands of dollars due to inaccurate data.
  • If you’re looking for a better way to determine your home’s market value, give us a call to get started!

Exposing the Inaccuracies of Automatic Home Estimators

If you own a home, you’ve probably wondered how much its value has increased since you first moved in. And while using an online estimator might seem convenient, you could end up with some pretty inaccurate numbers—and that’s bad news for sellers in today’s competitive market.

Want to make the most of your equity and find out how much your home is really worth? Here’s why working with a local real estate agent will always be better than trusting an “automatic” estimate.

Most estimators rely on user-reported data or algorithms

Home value on a laptop

Many homeowners believe that instant estimates are similar to a professional appraisal, but this simply isn’t the case. To generate a possible selling price, these real estate sites rely on potentially outdated algorithms that use property tax assessments, historic sold data, and user-reported information. Some estimators even use AI to scan photos of your home, which leaves ample room for error.

Estimators won’t take recent improvements into account

Couple renovating their kitchen

If you’ve made any larger improvements to your home, they may not get calculated into your instant estimate. Generally, most estimators will include any permitted work that’s noted on your latest tax assessment. But if you completed a project that didn’t require permits, it probably won’t influence the estimate.

For example, if you recently finished a kitchen renovation and didn’t have to take out a construction permit, an estimator could value your kitchen based on how it was before any upgrades. And if you rely on these incorrect numbers, you could shortchange your equity without even knowing it!

Your estimate could be off by thousands of dollars

homes on coin stacks

Perhaps the biggest issue with automatic home estimators is their overall accuracy—or lack thereof. While most claim to be within 10% of a home’s real market value, that 10% could equal tens of thousands of dollars. When you look at the numbers, that’s a potential difference of $30,000 for a home worth $300,000!

Above all, it’s important to remember that these estimators will never substitute a professional valuation. If you’re really serious about selling your home or learning its value, it’s better to work with a local real estate agent instead—and take an estimator’s opinion with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Only Price Your Home with a Local Agent

Couple getting a home valuation from an agent

Want to know your home’s true value? Don’t trust a computer—start by consulting your local real estate agent! As area experts, we know how to calculate just how much your home could sell for in today’s competitive market. We can even take your renovations and recent sold data into account for an added level of accuracy.

Get Top Dollar for Your Home

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home or just want to know its value, you can trust us to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to request a complimentary home valuation, or just give us a call with any questions—we’d be happy to chat!

What Increasing Home Prices Mean for Today’s Buyers and Sellers

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a whirlwind would be an understatement. And as we get closer to the end of the year, many buyers and sellers are wondering if it makes financial sense to enter the market. Although the warmer months are typically considered the best time to move, buyer demand continues to surge into fall, while the available supply of homes just keeps dwindling. This has caused home prices to skyrocket to one of their highest points ever.

Need some advice before breaking into today’s competitive housing market? We have a few details to consider before making any big decisions.

Buying or Selling Soon? Here’s How Rising Home Prices Will Affect Your Move

Real estate has always been about supply and demand. For example, during the housing market crash of 2008, home prices plummeted partially because of low buyer interest. Today, though, we’re seeing the opposite—prices are increasing due to waning supply and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates.

This is fantastic news for anyone looking to sell their home and cash out on their hard-earned equity. Buyers, on the other hand, may have to do more to stand out from the competition.

Why have home values increased?

Even amidst a pandemic and national recession, buying a home is still a top priority for many Americans. In fact, according to a newly released report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of existing home sales reached a 14-year high this August. A similar report by Bloomberg states that if current demand holds strong, we could run out of housing inventory in around three months.

Wondering why so many people are clamoring to buy this year? Even in the face of rising home prices, low mortgage rates have enticed buyers to make a move. While record-shattering rates have helped to expand purchasing power, this intense desire for homeownership has caused prices to jump by a whopping 8.2% year-over-year.

Buyers can take advantage of lower interest rates to afford a more expensive home

If you’re thinking about buying a home soon, you’ll need to be prepared to navigate a cutthroat market. Ever since rates started decreasing in late 2019, more and more buyers have decided to start searching for a home. Unfortunately, this means you could get caught in a bidding war or might have to make some compromises to secure a place of your own.

Although prices have soared dramatically since last year, buying a home is still an attainable goal. In fact, when mortgage rates sunk below 3% this summer, buyers found themselves with an extra $15,000 in purchasing power.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by today’s market, you’re not alone—and reaching out to an agent can help you get the answers you need. Consider contacting a real estate professional before you start looking for homes. They can provide the expertise you need to find your perfect place!

Sellers should expect to sell quickly and for top dollar

Today’s sellers are in a better position than ever before. Nationally, the housing market has struggled to keep pace with buyer demand for the last few years, but this deficiency has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. By listing now, you could take advantage of fierce rivalry amongst buyers, high home prices, and low competition from other sellers.

Despite the ongoing recession, home prices have actually climbed throughout most of 2020. Between May and July, existing properties appreciated in value by a whopping 2%, which is the highest month-by-month increase in three decades. If you’ve lived in your home for at least a few years, you could be sitting on six figures of equity.

Even if you aren’t interested in selling, there’s never been a better time to check on your house’s current value. A top-rated local agent should be able to perform a full home analysis and tell you how much you could sell for if you listed today.

Bottom Line: Now Is the Time to Talk with an Agent

Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling your home, you shouldn’t wait to connect with an agent who has plenty of experience in your desired area. They can help you keep up with today’s ever-changing market and answer any questions you might have.

Not quite ready to move? It’s still worth talking with an agent about your current home’s value, especially as we continue to see such dramatic price increases!

Ready to Take Your Next Steps?

No matter what your real estate needs might be, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us today and let us know what we can do for you. We can even conduct a comparative market analysis on your home to see how much equity you’ve gained over time!

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Neighborhood with an HOA

As you search for your next home, you’ll probably encounter more than a few neighborhoods that have their own homeowners associations. Often abbreviated as HOAs, these groups usually consist of a few elected residents, although they may also be run by an outside management company or developer.

While they tend to get a bad rap, HOAs actually have quite a few benefits you might not have considered—but they aren’t always the right fit for everyone.

Should You Buy in a Neighborhood with an HOA?

In a nutshell, an HOA’s job is to act as a governing body for a neighborhood. They typically set rules, maintain the community, and may offer certain amenities, like pools or landscaping. However, these perks don’t come free—homeowners have to pay dues to cover an HOA’s services.

Not sure if you want to live in a community with a homeowners association? Here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind before making a move.

Pro: Increased resale value

Believe it or not, an HOA can significantly impact a home’s resale value when you move again. On average, single family homes that are part of a local association sell for 4% more than ones that aren’t—for a home worth $300,000, that’s a gain of $12,000.

Con: More rules to follow

Perhaps the biggest gripe that many homeowners have about HOAs is having to follow certain rules, especially when it comes to your home’s appearance. In order to maintain property values and a uniform look to the neighborhood, HOAs often restrict personalizations like paint colors, fences, or landscaping.

Associations may also have certain limitations on pets, noise, yard signs, home improvements, or trash removal. Violating the rules can sometimes result in hefty fines, so be sure you read up on an HOA’s restrictions to avoid any penalties.

Pro: A beautiful neighborhood

All those rules may seem irksome, but they do serve a purpose. HOA regulations are designed to make your neighborhood a beautiful and desirable place to live. You’ll never have to deal with eyesores like an overgrown lawn or lingering litter anymore, either!

Con: Additional fees

Most associations charge dues that vary depending on the services and amenities they provide. It’s not uncommon to see fees of over $1,000 per year—definitely an expense you’ll want to factor into your monthly budget.

Wondering what these dues cover? They usually go towards maintenance, an emergency fund, or amenities. If you live in a condo or active adult community, they can also cover utilities and exterior maintenance.

Pro: Extra amenities

If you want to live somewhere with plenty of amenities right at your doorstep, an HOA neighborhood may be a great fit. Many homeowners associations pay to maintain community pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and much more. Larger subdivisions may even have their own golf courses, restaurants, or clubhouses that are for residents only!

Con: Risks of poor management

Almost every HOA is governed by residents, sometimes with the help of a management company. Unfortunately, a poorly managed association can be a nightmare for homeowners, especially if the HOA is responsible for maintaining major aspects of the community.

Homeowners associations also have the authority to increase dues without warning—and if they don’t have the money to pay for a big expense, they may even order a special assessment to cover the costs.

Bottom Line: Do your research!

In a recent survey by the Community Associations Institute, a whopping 85% of homeowners said they had a positive experience living in a community with an HOA. However, it’s still crucial to consider your own individual circumstances before making a decision.

Be sure to read an association’s rules or bylaws, and take a good look at the neighborhood before you buy. If you have any questions, just ask your agent!

Take Your Next Steps

If you’re ready to make a move, we’d love to guide you through every step of the buying process! Just get in touch with us today to get started—we look forward to teaming up and helping you find your next dream home.

5 Easy Ways to Save Up for a New Home

Saving for a house might seem difficult, especially as the economy continues to fluctuate. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your home buying dreams! If you want to take your first steps towards homeownership, we have a few simple tricks that can help you build your savings account.

How to Save Up for Your Perfect Place

Before you begin saving, consider how much you’d ideally like to put down on a house. Your down payment will likely be your largest upfront cost, and most buyers put down around 20% of a home’s value. However, there are some loans that require as little as 0% down, so be sure to explore all of your options.

It can take years to save up for a home. Nevertheless, if you plan ahead and follow these tips, you’ll soon be on a path to success.

Create a monthly budget…and stick to it

Having a budget can help you set spending limitations and savings goals each month, but it’s crucial to stick to it if you want to make progress. Start by documenting all your sources of income, then subtract your monthly expenses. This shows you what you’re paying for housing, food, utilities, and extra expenses, as well as how much you have left over. From there, you can set spending goals and designate a certain amount of money towards your house fund every month.

Cut unnecessary spending

As you craft a new budget, consider cutting out any expenses you can live without. You might have to make some sacrifices, but if you’re serious about saving for a home, your hard work will pay off in the long run. The more you save, the more house you can afford!

Consider getting rid of any unnecessary recurring payments, like streaming services or magazine subscriptions. Cooking at home, buying generic brands, and putting off that big vacation can also save you thousands every year. If you put that money directly into your savings, you won’t even miss it…because you were already spending it.

Pay off your debt

If you’re like many would-be homebuyers, lingering credit card or student loan debt might be keeping you from making a move. Before you start saving for a home, try to pay off debts or reconsolidate them into a smaller monthly payment with a lower interest rate.

Not sure where to start? Consider talking with a financial advisor about any underlying debt that needs to be paid off. It might take a while, but it’s better to take on a mortgage with more manageable payments.

Put your retirement savings on hold

While it is crucial to save for retirement, buying a home is also an important step in your life—so it’s okay to temporarily divert some of your savings towards your down payment. However, it’s not a good idea to take money out of your existing retirement accounts. You could get saddled with taxes and unwanted early withdrawal fees if you dip into your IRA or 401(k)!

Start a side hustle

Even during these challenging economic times, it’s still possible to make a quick buck doing what you love. Starting a side hustle can help you rake in some extra cash on the weekends and evenings—and even a little money can add up over time.

Looking for suggestions? Pet sitting, ride sharing, personal training, and photography are just a few possibilities. Who knows…your passion could turn into a profitable second income!

Ready to Start Your Buying Journey?

Looking for more home buying advice? We’ve got you covered! Just reach out to us for more tips and tricks, and let us know when you’re ready to take your next steps. We’re always here to answer any questions you might have, especially as the market continues to change.