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.
- If you’re questioning whether or not to buy a home this year due to today’s cooling market, consider the long-term financial benefits of homeownership.
- As a homeowner, equity increases your wealth. On average, nationwide, home prices appreciated by 290.2% since 1991.
- Homeownership wins in the long run. If you’re ready to buy a home, let’s connect today.
If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing what to budget for and how to save may sound scary at first. But it doesn’t have to be. One way to take the fear out of budgeting is understanding some of the costs you might encounter. And to do that, turn to trusted real estate professionals. They can help you plan your finances and prepare your budget.
Here are just a few costs experts say you can expect.
1. Down Payment
Saving for your down payment is likely top of mind as you set out to buy a home. But do you know how much you’ll need to save? While each situation is different, there’s a common misconception that putting 20% down toward your purchase is required. An article from the Mortgage Reports explains why that’s not always the case:
“The idea that you have to put 20% down on a house is a myth. . . . The right amount depends on your current savings and your home buying goals.”
To understand your options, partner with a trusted real estate professional to go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires.
2. Closing Costs
“Closing costs are the fees you pay when finalizing a real estate transaction, whether you’re refinancing a mortgage or buying a new home. These costs can amount to 2 to 5 percent of the mortgage so it’s important to be financially prepared for this expense.”
The best way to understand what you’ll need at the closing table is to work with a trusted lender. They can provide you with answers to the questions you might have.
3. Earnest Money Deposit
If you want to cover all your bases, you can also consider saving for an earnest money deposit (EMD). An EMD is money you pay as a show of good faith when you make an offer on a house. According to realtor.com, it’s usually between 1% and 2% of the total home price.
This deposit works like a credit. It’s not an added expense – it’s paying a portion of your costs upfront. You’re using some of the money you already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about their house. Realtor.com describes how it works as part of your sale:
“It tells the real estate seller you’re in earnest as a buyer, . . . . Assuming that all goes well and the buyer’s good-faith offer is accepted by the seller, the earnest money funds go toward the down payment and closing costs. In effect, earnest money is just paying more of the down payment and closing costs upfront.”
Keep in mind, an EMD isn’t required, and it doesn’t guarantee your offer will be accepted. It’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand what’s best for your situation and any specific requirements in your area. They’ll help you determine what moves you should make in the homebuying process to have the greatest success.
Budgeting for your home purchase doesn’t have to be scary. Let’s connect so you’ll have an expert on your side to answer any questions you have along the way.
Over the past two years, the substantial imbalance of low housing supply and high buyer demand pushed home sales and buyer competition to new heights. But this year, things are shifting as supply and demand reach an inflection point.
The graph below helps tell the story of just how different things are today.
This year, buyer demand has eased as higher mortgage rates and mounting economic uncertainty moderated the market. This slowdown in demand is clear when you look at the red bar on the graph. It uses the latest data from ShowingTime to illustrate how showings (an indicator of buyer demand) have softened by just over 12% compared to the same time last year.
Now for a look at how housing supply has changed, turn to the green bar. It uses data from realtor.com to show active listings are up nearly 27% compared to last year. That’s because the moderation of demand allowed housing inventory to increase in 2022.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Buyers?
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ll have less competition and more options than you would have had last year. Enjoy having more homes to choose from in your home search and lean on a trusted real estate professional to understand how the increase in supply has also increased your negotiation power. That professional can talk you through the opportunities and challenges buyers face in today’s shifting market. You may be surprised to find they’re different than they were a year ago.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Sellers?
If you’re looking to sell your house, know that inventory is still low overall. That means, if you work with an agent to price your house based on current market value, it will still sell despite the inventory gains and moderating buyer demand this year. That’s because there are still buyers out there who want to move, and your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, the best place to turn to for information on today’s supply and demand is a trusted real estate professional. Let’s connect so you know what’s happening in our local market and what that means for you.
With higher mortgage rates, you might be wondering if now’s the best time to buy a home. While the financial aspects are important to consider, there are also powerful non-financial reasons it may make sense to make a move. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with homeownership.
Homeowners Can Make Their Home Truly Their Own
Owning your home gives you a significant sense of accomplishment because it’s a space you can customize to your heart’s desire. That can bring you added happiness.
In fact, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:
“There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area.”
And as a homeowner, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you typically won’t have to worry about the changes you can and can’t make.
If you rent, you may not have the same freedom. And if you do make changes as a renter, there’s a good chance you’ll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out.
The Responsibilities of Homeownership Give You a Greater Sense of Achievement
There’s no denying taking care of your home is a large responsibility, but it’s one you’ll take pride in as a homeowner. Freddie Mac explains:
“As the homeowner, you have the freedom to adopt a pet, paint the walls any color you choose, renovate your kitchen, and more. . . . Of course, along with the freedoms of homeownership come responsibilities, such as making your monthly mortgage payments on time and maintaining your home. But as the property owner, you’ll be caring for your own investment.”
You’re not taking care of a living space that belongs to someone else. The space is yours. As an added benefit, you may get a return on investment for any upgrades or repairs you make.
Homeownership Can Lead to Greater Community Engagement
That sense of ownership and your feelings of responsibility can even extend beyond the walls of your home. Your home also gives you a stake in your community. Because the average homeowner stays in their home for longer than just a few years, that can lead to having a stronger connection to your local area. NAR notes how that can benefit you:
“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”
If you’re looking to put down roots, homeownership can help fuel a sense of connection to the area and those around you.
If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey, including the ability to customize your home, the sense of achievement homeownership brings, and a greater connection to your community. Let’s connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.
- If you’re trying to buy your first home in today’s housing market, you’ll want to know what you can do as mortgage rates rise and inventory stays low overall.
- Connect with a lender to get pre-approved, prioritize your wish list, consider condos, and expand your search radius.
- Your first home is out there. Let’s connect to explore your options and what other first-time buyers are doing to find their homes.
Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble?
The talk of a housing bubble in the coming year seems to be at a fever pitch as rising mortgage rates continue to slow down an overheated real estate market. Over the past two years, home prices have appreciated at an unsustainable pace causing many to ask: are things just slowing down, or is a crash coming?
To answer this question, there are two things we want to understand. The first is the reality of the shift in today’s housing market. And the second is what experts are saying about home prices in the coming year.
The Reality of the Shift in Today’s Housing Market
The reality is we’re seeing an inflection point in housing supply and demand. According to realtor.com, active listings have increased more than 26% over last year, while showings from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index have decreased almost 17% from last year (see graph below). This is an inflection point for housing because, over the past two years, we’ve seen a massive amount of demand (showings) and not enough homes available for sale for the number of people that wanted to buy. That caused the market frenzy.
Today, supply and demand look very different, and the market is slowing down from the pace we’ve seen. This offers proof of the sudden slowdown so many people are feeling.
What Experts Are Saying About Home Prices in the Coming Year
Right now, most experts are forecasting home price appreciation in 2023, but at a much slower pace than the last two years. The average of the six forecasters below is for national home prices to appreciate by 2.5% in the coming year. Only one of the six is calling for home price depreciation.
When we look at the shift taking place along with what experts are saying, we can conclude the national real estate market is slowing down but is not a bubble getting ready to burst. This isn’t to say that a few overheated markets won’t experience home price depreciation, but there isn’t a case to be made for a national housing bubble.
The real estate market is slowing down, and that’s causing many to fear we’re in a housing bubble. What we’ve experienced in the housing market over the past two years were historic levels of demand and constrained supply. That led to homes going up in value at a record pace. While some overheated markets may experience price depreciation in the short term, according to experts, the national real estate market will appreciate in the coming year.