For over 78 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have provided millions of veterans with the opportunity to purchase homes of their own. If you or a loved one have served, it’s important to understand this program and its benefits.
Here are some things you should know about VA loans before you start the homebuying process.
What Are VA Loans?
VA home loans provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have served our nation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the program like this:
“VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.”
Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program
In addition to helping eligible buyers achieve their homeownership dreams, VA loans have several other great benefits for buyers who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs:
- Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment.
- Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
- VA-Backed Loans often offer competitive terms and mortgage interest rates.
A recent article from Veterans United sums up just how impactful this loan option can be:
“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”
John Bell, Acting Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Service, also explains why this program is so powerful:
“It provides early ownership for many people that would not have that opportunity to begin with. Since there’s no down payment, it allows people to hold their wealth and it gives them the ability to have long term financial security by being able to own a house and let that equity grow.”
Homeownership is the American Dream. Our veterans sacrifice so much in service of our nation, and one way we can honor and thank them is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans. Thank you for your service.
It turns out, millennials aren’t the renter generation after all. The 2022 Consumer Insights Report from Mynd says there’s a portion of millennial and Gen Z buyers who are pursuing homeownership as a way to build their wealth, but it may not be exactly the way previous generations have done it. The study explains how they’re breaking into the market:
“. . . younger generations of Americans are not buying into that dream in the same way that older generations have. A growing number of Americans are choosing to make their first real estate purchase as an investment property.”
Instead of buying a home and moving into it themselves, some young buyers are purchasing a home so they can use it as a rental. This tactic may be gaining popularity, at least in part, because of the affordability challenges brought about by today’s higher mortgage rates. The report above mentions how many people in this group are considering this approach. It says:
“Almost half of Millennials and Gen Z (43%) are considering buying an investment property compared to only 9% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen X.”
Why Younger Buyers Are Buying a Home To Use as a Rental
This strategy allows buyers to continue living in their current location, like the bustle of a city apartment or a neighborhood that they know and love, where they couldn’t afford to buy. But instead of giving up on the idea of owning a home, they buy a home in a more affordable area with the intention of renting it out.
In a way, they’re getting the best of both worlds. They live where they want, and they still own a home where they can afford it.
Their goal is to generate passive income and diversify their assets. It works like this: in addition to having a rental stream of income, the equity they build in their house will also help grow their net worth over time.
If you’re thinking about buying a home as an investment strategy to build your wealth, let’s connect to explore your options and nearby areas that may have homes that fit what you’re looking for.
As you look ahead to the winter season, you’re likely making plans and thinking about what you want to achieve before the year ends. One of those key decision points could be whether or not you want to move this year. If the location or size of your current home no longer meets your needs, finding a house that better suits your lifestyle may be a top priority for you. But with today’s cooling housing market, is it really a good time to sell your house, or should you wait?
If you’re ready to make your decision, here are three reasons you may want to consider selling before the holidays.
1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers
Typically, in the residential real estate market, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their house until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.
Selling now, while other homeowners may hold off until after the holidays, can help your house stand out. Start the process with a real estate professional today so you can get your house on the market and get ahead of your competition.
2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers This Season
Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it’s still low overall. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak homebuying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”
Serious buyers will still be looking this winter and your house may be exactly what they’re searching for. If you work with an agent to list your house now, you’ll be able to get in front of the eager buyers who are hoping to make a move before the year ends.
3. Seize a Great Chance To Move Up
Don’t forget, today’s homeowners have record amounts of equity. According to CoreLogic, the average amount of equity per mortgage holder has climbed to almost $300,000. That’s an all-time high. That means the equity you have in your house right now could cover some, if not all, of a down payment on the home of your dreams.
And as you weigh the reasons to sell before winter, don’t lose sight of why you’re thinking about moving in the first place. Maybe it’s time to buy a house that’s in a better location for you, has the space you and your loved ones have been craving, or simply gives you that sense of home. A trusted real estate advisor can help you determine how much home equity you have and how you can use it to achieve your goal of making a move.
If you’re thinking about selling your house so you can find a home that better suits your needs, don’t delay your plans. Let’s connect so you can accomplish your goals before winter.
While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still high, remaining around 8%. This news impacted the stock market and added fuel to the fire for conversations about a recession.
You’re likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as you watch the cost of goods and services climb. The pinch it’s creating on your wallet and the looming economic uncertainty may leave you wondering: “should I still buy a home right now?” If that question is top of mind for you, here’s what you need to know.
Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation
In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains:
“A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”
And with rents being as high as they are, the ability to stabilize your monthly payments and protect yourself from future rent hikes may be even more important. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains what happened to rents in the latest inflation report:
“Inflation refuses to budge. In September, consumer prices rose by 8.2%. Rents rose by 7.2%, the highest pace in 40 years.”
When you rent, your monthly payment is determined by your lease, which typically renews on an annual basis. With inflation high, your landlord may be more likely to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. That may be part of the reason why a survey from realtor.com shows 72% of landlords said they plan to raise the rent on one or more of their properties in the next year.
Becoming a homeowner, if you’re ready and able to do so, can provide lasting stability and a reliable shelter in times of economic uncertainty.
The best hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost. If you’re ready to learn more and start your journey to homeownership, let’s connect.
If you’re looking to buy a home, you probably want to secure the lowest interest rate possible for your home loan. Over the last couple of years, that was easier to do as the housing market saw record-low mortgage rates, but this year rates have risen dramatically.
If you’re looking for ways to combat today’s higher rates and lock in the lowest one you can, here are a few factors to focus on. Since approval opportunities can vary, connect with a trusted lender for customized advice.
Your Credit Score
Credit scores can play a big role in your mortgage rate. Freddie Mac explains:
“When you build and maintain strong credit, mortgage lenders have greater confidence when qualifying you for a mortgage because they see that you’ve paid back your loans as agreed and used your credit wisely. Strong credit also means your lender is more apt to approve you for a mortgage that has more favorable terms and a lower interest rate.”
That’s why it’s important to maintain a good credit score. If you want to focus on improving your score, your trusted advisor can give you expert advice to help.
Your Loan Type
There are many types of loans, each offering different terms for qualified buyers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says:
“There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose.”
When working with your real estate advisor, make sure you find out what’s available in your area and which types of loans you may qualify for.
Your Loan Term
Another factor to consider is the term of your loan. Just like with location and loan types, you have options. Freddie Mac says:
“When choosing the right home loan for you, it’s important to consider the loan term, which is the length of time it will take you to repay your loan before you fully own your home. Your loan term will affect your interest rate, monthly payment, and the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.”
Depending on your situation, the length of your loan can also change your mortgage rate.
Your Down Payment
“In general, a larger down payment means a lower interest rate, because lenders see a lower level of risk when you have more stake in the property. So if you can comfortably put 20 percent or more down, do it—you’ll usually get a lower interest rate.”
To learn more, connect with a lender to find out the difference a higher down payment can make for your new mortgage.
These are just few factors that can help determine your mortgage rate if you’re buying a home. The best thing you can do is have a team of professionals on your side. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the expert advice you need in each step of the process.
Today’s housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you’re thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment.
Here are a few simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.
1. Price It Right
One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That’s because the price sends a message to home shoppers. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer. On the flip side, pricing your house too low may make buyers worry there’s some underlying issue or something wrong with the home.
Your goal in pricing your house is to gain the attention of prospective buyers and get them to make an offer. And with price growth and buyer demand moderating, as well as a greater supply of homes available for sale, pricing your home appropriately for where the market is today has become more important than ever before.
But how do you know that perfect number? Pricing your house isn’t a guessing game. It takes skill and expertise. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to determine the current market value for your home.
2. Keep It Clean
It may sound simple but keeping your house clean is another key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As realtor.com says in the Home Selling Checklist:
“When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour.”
Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any clutter. Doing these simple things can reduce potential distractions for buyers.
For more tips, check out this checklist for preparing your house for sale. Ultimately an agent is your best resource for tailored advice, but this list can help get you started.
3. Help Buyers Feel at Home
Finally, it’s important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items, like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. It’s also a good idea to remove any excess furniture to help the rooms feel bigger and make sure there’s ample space for touring buyers to stand and look at the layout.
If you’re unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run. As a recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.”
Selling a house requires prep work and expertise. If you’re looking to sell your house this season, let’s connect so you have advice on how to get it ready to list, how to help it stand out in today’s shifting market, and more.