5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For Millennials

5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For MillennialsMillennials are a huge socio-demographic group of over 83 million people. Many of them want to buy a home but face challenges that their parents did not necessarily have. Homes are more expensive. In most places, home prices rebounded to exceed the pre-2008 economic collapse values. Moreover, home prices continue to go up.

The encouraging news is that there is home financing readily available and mortgage interest rates are still reasonable. Even if it is more challenging, the greatest investment that most Americans can make is buying a home. Paying rent is only helping the landlord get rich. Homeownership is still highly desirable and a part of a wise long-term investment strategy.

Here are some tips that millennials can use to become homeowners.

Save For The Down Payment And Build An Excellent Credit History

The best rates for home loans are for those with an excellent credit history who can put down 20%. It is possible to borrow the down payment. The problem with this strategy is that the cost of the loan is higher. The mortgage rate may be higher and the lender may require private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI pays off the loan balance to the lender if the homeowner defaults on the loan; however, it does not protect the homeowner’s equity in the home or any down payment. PMI just adds another monthly expense.

Create Non-Location Dependent Income

Home prices are somewhat dependent on the local economy and the employment available in the local area. By creating non-location dependent income through the “gig” economy. Work as a freelancer or a person who telecommutes by working from home. With this income, you will be freer to look for a home in a rural area or an area where the home prices are lower.

Take Advantage Of First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Many first-time homebuyer programs are offered by programs of the federal government through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other agencies. Be sure to investigate those possibilities when considering buying a home.

Hunt For A Home In Low-Cost Areas

Use the online systems when searching for a home to compare two things, 1) the median price of homes for each area and 2) the cost of living for each area. The areas with low median prices and that have a lower cost of living are usually easier places to buy a home.

Partner With Others

A home-buying partnership is something many are using to make owning a home more affordable. Multigenerational ownership is used by many families to buy a large home together and share it. Other partnerships can be made among individuals, who are not relatives, to share ownership. Choose ownership partners very carefully and be sure to have competent legal counsel when creating a written ownership agreement.

Summary

Millennials are challenged with new obstacles when seeking to buy a home. The strongest challenge is the cost of homeownership. However, there are many clever ways to improve the chances of enjoying an affordable ownership situation. Be patient and do not give up. Work with a REALTOR® who understands the challenges and is an expert in the area where you are thinking about buying and with a trusted home mortgage professional to find the best financing options for your situation.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 30th, 2019Last week’s economic reports were limited due to the Christmas holiday. New home sales data was released along with a weekly reading on mortgage rates.

Census Bureau: New Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since 1999

Mortgage rates below 4.00 percent propelled the highest number of new homes sold since 1999. 719,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in November.

Analysts expected November sales of new homes to reach 740,000 sales based on October’s original reading of 733,000 sales, but this reading was later revised to 710,000 sales.

New home sales reported are based on a narrow range of data and subject to major revisions. Slim inventories of previously-owned homes for sale also boosted new home sales.

The national median sale price for new homes was $330,800 in November and there was a 5.40 month supply of new homes available, which fell below the peak of a seven-month supply of available new homes reported in December 2018.

The Northeast region reported a 52.40 percent increase in new home sales; Sales of new homes in the South decreased by 4.10 percent and were unchanged in the Midwest. New home sales in the West rose by 7.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed

Freddie Mac reported incremental changes in average mortgage rates; 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged 3.74 percent and were one basis point higher than for the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent and were unchanged.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was eight basis points higher at 3.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac cautioned that the ongoing shortage of affordable homes is causing home prices to rise throughout the U.S; in recent years significant home price gains primarily occurred in coastal regions. Analysts said that as fewer affordable homes become available, housing markets and the general economy could be negatively affected.

Weekly reporting on first-time jobless claims was not released last week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, pending home sales, construction spending and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

The Advantages Of A Dual-Location LifestyleCommuting for hours in traffic on a daily basis is a waste of resources, time, and money. It is stressful and bad for the environment. The infrastructure in many parts of the United States is falling apart. The roads and highways do not have sufficient capacity to handle the demands of the traffic load that continues to increase each year. Many busy professionals and families are turning to a solution of owning two homes for the convenience of enjoying dual-location living.

What Is Dual-Location Living?

The most common form of dual-location living is having a home and also owning a vacation home. Many like this lifestyle of having a vacation home to enjoy, to get away from it all. Retirees may use this strategy to have their residence for spring and summer in the cooler areas and then have another place to spend the time during the bad weather months of fall and winter. 

The trend of dual-location living, which is increasing now, is when the two homes are closer to each other. Professionals and families who want to spend the weekdays in the downtown areas or an area near the best schools may have a downtown residence and also a weekend residence in the suburbs. 

The Best Of City And Suburban Living

During the working week, the time spent downtown can be to enjoy going out to eat and partaking of the various amenities that come along with the big-city life. Then, by waiting until after the commute time, it is easier to go to the home in the suburbs. This allows for a couple of relaxing days before heading back late Sunday night to downtown, once again with less traffic. Waking up on Monday just a few minutes from work is pleasant.

Reducing Expenses

For those who need to manage their budget carefully, maintaining two places can be quite expensive. It may be better to share expenses with others by renting out a portion of each home. The proportional sharing does not have to be equally-divided in both homes.

Instead, the city-based home may have a private room and bath with the rest of the house rented out and the reverse in the suburbs, where only a guest room rents out. Doing this well means the rental income will offset significant portions of the expenses.

Another possibility that comes from dual-location living is using the time saved, which comes from less time wasted on commuting, to generate additional income.

Summary

The trend of owning two homes, near each other, yet on the other side of a long commute, makes sense. Besides all the conveniences of dual-location living, it is the start of building up a real estate investment portfolio by buying a second home and generating some rental income to help pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted mortgage professional to assess financing options.

Questions To Ask When Transitioning To A Retirement CommunityOne of the dreams that many people have is to eventually retire. People work their entire lives and save diligently to be able to enjoy those golden years. When the time finally comes, people need to think about the community that is right for them. With this goal in mind, there are a few common questions that everyone should ask to find their ideal retirement community.

Important Questions To Consider

Some of the key questions that retirees should be asking include:

Do I Want A Communal Setting?

Many retirement homes are built in a communal setting. Think about a bunch of condos that open up into a main hallway. There might also be a main dining area where the residents congregate to spend time. This might be a great way to meet new people; however, it might also sacrifice some independence along the way. Some individuals who require medical care might need a communal setting.

Where Is It Located?

While this might seem obvious, this question is often overlooked. What part of the country is the retirement community located in? Some people might be interested in moving to have access to better weather. Other people might want to move to be closer to family members or friends. Think about geography as well.

Are Meals Provided?

Some people don’t want to cook when they reach their golden years. Other people want to be able to cook every meal. Some individuals may simply want to have options. Some retirement communities provide meals for their residents. Others do not. Be sure to ask about the meals that are provided. Also ask when they are made, what the options are, and how much they cost.

Are There Transportation Options?

Some retirement communities provide their residents with transportation that can take them around town to get groceries, to doctors’ appointments, and other errands. As people get older, they might not be able to drive. Therefore, this transportation can be important.

Asking The Right Questions About A Retirement Community

These are a few of the important questions that everyone needs to ask when moving to a retirement community. This will help everyone find the right living situation for them and their family.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing you current property, be sure to discuss your financing options with your trusted home mortgage specialist.

Tips On How To Get The Home You Want In A 'Seller's Market'A “seller’s market” happens when there are more potential buyers than homes for sale. In a seller’s market, people looking for a home may feel frustration and not easily find the home that they want. When they find a home for sale that they like, the seller of the home may receive multiple competitive offers at the same moment.

The seller is in an excellent position when this happens. Sellers can pick from the purchase offers to choose the one they like the most. Even if an offer is the same as another one, sometimes it is not the offer chosen by a seller.

Causes Of A Seller’s Market

Seller’s markets arise because a particular area is very desirable. There can also be limitations that do not allow any further development of residential properties in an area. Well-established neighborhoods in up-scale market areas are typically likely candidates for becoming a seller’s market. Easy credit financing is another contributing factor.

Check the median sales price as a percentage of the listing price for an area. If it is greater than 100%, this is a seller’s market.

Buying A Home In A Seller’s Market

If you must live in a certain area, and there are extremely compelling reasons for buying a home in a seller’s market, then expect to pay more and work harder to get the type of home that you want. Here are some tips about how to buy a home in a seller’s market:

1. Work With A Top Real Estate Professional: You want to go into this challenge along with the best professional help that you can find. You want to choose a top real estate agent that specializes in the market area that you desire. They should know the neighborhood intimately and represented both buyers and sellers in that market.

2. Pre-Approved Credit Commitment: Apply for mortgage approval before looking for a home to buy. Request more than the amounted needed and pay for a written loan commitment that guarantees the financing is both approved and legally-committed for the time, plus a little more, that you need to find a home to buy.

3. Move Fast: Make a purchase offer as quickly as possible when a new home listing comes up that meets your criteria.

4. Cash Earn Money Deposit: Offer the seller earnest money in cash that is a significant amount to accept the purchase price you offer. By cash, we mean physical dollar bills of around $5,000 or more. Cash makes people sign a deal.

5. Offer More Money: If you want a specific home, make your purchase offer 1% or more than the asking price. Also, offer in writing to match any other competing offers plus a bit more. You may get into a bidding war and have to pay much more to get the home.

6. Off-Market Properties: Seek to buy a property that is not yet for sale. Ask your agent to call people who they sold a home to before. Ask everyone in the local area if they know of one that is like the one you want. Knock on doors of homes that are one you might like to buy and ask the owner if they will sell the home.

Summary

To get the home you want, try to be flexible with the basic criteria of what type of home it is. Work with a great real estate agent. Move fast and use our tips to be competitive with other potential homebuyers.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 23rd, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets; the National Association of Realtors® released data on sales of previously-owned homes and the Commerce Department released readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in December

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions rose in December to an index reading of 76 as compared to November’s reading of 71. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders surveyed were confident about housing market conditions.

Builder confidence in current market conditions rose seven points to an index reading of 84; builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 79 and the index reading for buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose four points to 58. Analysts noted that the index reading for buyer traffic rarely reaches a reading of 50.

Regional readings were mixed with builder confidence in the Northeast falling two points; the Midwestern region showed builder confidence five points higher than in November and builder confidence readings in the South and West rose one point and three points respectively.

Analysts said that low mortgage rates, a slim supply of pre-owned homes for sale and low unemployment contributed to rising builder confidence. Negative factors impacting builder confidence included high land and labor costs, and a disparity between builders focusing on high-end construction while entry-level homes were most in demand.

The National Association of Realtors ®reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in November; 5.35 million previously-owned homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to October’s reading of 5.44 million sales of previously-owned homes.

Fewer sales were caused by slim inventories of affordable homes for sale. This data supported home builders’ assertion that fewer available pre-owned homes boosted builder confidence in current housing markets.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise in November

The Commerce Department reported 1365 million single-family housing starts in November as compared to 1.323 million starts in October. Building permits issued also rose in November with 1.482 million permits issued as compared to October’s reading of 1.461 million building permits issued. Housing Starts and building permits supply estimates for future inventories of available homes.

Mortgage Rates Unchanged, New Jobless ClaimsFall

Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged last week according to Freddie Mac. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.73 percent and rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.37 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 234,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 235,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 252,000 first-time claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news is limited due to the Christmas holiday. Data on new home sales will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

The Most Commonly Searched Household How-To RemediesOwning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. Many of the responsibilities that people think about involve home maintenance. There are few things that frustrate a homeowner more than having repair and maintenance bills come up. At the same time, it is important to address these properly.

For this reason, it is important for everyone to understand the most common how-tos people search for. This will give someone a glimpse into some of the responsibilities he or she might face when owning a home. Those who can handle these how-tos can save money on maintenance costs and repair bills.

How To Unclog A Drain

One of the most commonly searched how-tos is how to unclog a drain. Some of the drains that might get clogged include kitchen drains, sink drains, and bathtub drains. When these drains are clogged, water can back up and make the equipment unusable.

In order to unclog a drain, it is important to consider the various options available. Some people use a “snake” to unclog a drain. Other people use a liquid, such as Drano. 

How To Stop A Leaky Faucet

Another how-to that people frequently have to handle is a leaky faucet. A dripping faucet can lead to significant increases in someone’s water bills. Furthermore, the dripping noise can also keep people up at night.

Sometimes, the handles on the faucet simply need to be tightened to stop the leaky faucet. In other cases, there might be a loose washer underneath the sink somewhere. These are some of the common causes of a leaky faucet.

How To Patch And Repair Drywall

Another common house issue that people sometimes need to handle involves drywall. Patching drywall can be a complicated process depending on the location and size of the drywall.

Everyone who is thinking about patching drywall should understand the steps involved. This includes how to make the drywall smooth in addition to the various adhesives and tools involved.

Understanding Household How-Tos

These are a few of the various how-tos that people might have to face during homeownership. Homeowners that can handle these how-tos will be able to save money on maintenance and repair bills down the road, provided they are handled properly.

If you are in the market for a new home or if you are interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Culture Clash Why Boomers Are Moving Back to Big Cities“Baby Boomers,” defined as people who were born between 1946-1964, are the wealthiest generation to ever retire, as well as the largest. According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the population of people 65 and older will increase by 36% between 2013-2023 and is expected to outnumber children by 2034 — for the first time in U.S. history.

Interestingly, in the decade since the Great Recession,people aged 50-59 are increasingly bucking tradition and moving to urban areas. As Boomers retire en masse, they are headed for major cities, favoring amenities-loaded condos over large single-family homes with manicured lawns. What is responsible for this change in older adults?

Home Maintenance Considerations

One of the largest factors causing boomers to migrate to cities is home maintenance. Once adult children are out of the home, many people downsize into more manageable houses. Larger suburban homes take a lot of work between routine home maintenance, not to mention larger emergency repairs. 

It makes sense then, that people 55 and older accounted for the largest increase in the rental home segment from 2007-2017, with a 38% rise in those older than 55 and a 43% increase in people older than 65. In stark contrast, the increase in rentals in people aged 54 and under in the same time period was less than 10%. 

Creature Comforts

Another thing responsible for older adults moving away from the suburbs and into more urban areas is the abundance of amenities large cities can offer them. Exceptionally walkable cities such as those where universities are located tend to cluster upscale condos and apartments near major shopping outlets and public transportation lines, as well as a multitude of options for shopping, dining, cultural experiences, and medical services. 

Cities like Lawrence, Kansas and Bloomington, Indiana have taken note of the trend — and the fact that boomers have about 70% of all disposable income in the United States — and have taken steps to lure retirees in, offering recreation opportunities specific to seniors and making public transportation and preventive healthcare more accessible.

This trend of boomers moving back into large cities, while fascinating, makes perfect sense and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future as cities make themselves more and more appealing, as well as accessible.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

The Risks And The Rewards Of Buying Homes In An 'As-Is' ConditionWhen considering buying a home in an “as-is” condition, the buyer takes all the risk of anything needed to bring the property back up to current building codes and make it ready for occupation or re-sale. There can be bargains in as-is properties if you know how to hunt for one. 

How To Find As-Is Bargain Properties

To find these properties, look for those that sell at auction for tax liens or other reasons for governmental asset-seizure. The might be distressed as-is properties that are foreclosures, short-sales, or estate sales.

A popular home-flipping strategy is to buy an as-is property at a price that is far below market value, make the repairs necessary, and then resell the home for a price that covers the repair costs plus makes a profit.

Tips On Buying As-Is Properties

It is a guessing game when buying an as-is property. There may be very unpleasant surprises for repairs that are very costly and are not obvious. Hidden problems include major plumbing troubles, severe electrical system repairs, shifting or broken foundations, dry rot, and termite infestations.

Here are some tips about how to improve the chances of getting a better deal when buying an as-is property:

Home Inspection: Conduct a professional home inspection. This is insurance to avoid a serious mistake. It is worth the few hundred dollars to pay for one, even if you do not get the property. 

Work With A Contractor: Being a contractor yourself is great. Many contractors buy and flip houses when not working on projects for others. The next best thing is working or partnering with a contractor. Just doing a walk-through with a remodeling contractor helps identify things that need to fix. Then, the estimates for the renovation can be done more accurately.

Major Systems: Assume the major systems will need work or replacement. The biggest unknown expenses in a renovation come from the heating, cooling, and other major systems.

Check Drains: Running water into the sinks for a few minutes is an easy way to see if the drains are blocked.

Roof: Based on the home’s age, assume the roof needs replacement if the roof is more than 20 years old. Inside the home look for evidence of roof leaks that left behind stains on the ceilings and walls that are signs of water damage.

Probe For Termites: Drill tiny deep holes into wood, in an inconspicuous area, to test for termite infestation and/or pay for a pest control inspection.

Foundation Problems: Go into the crawl space under a home to look for foundation problems, such as major cracks and shifting. Another indicator of ground movement and settling, which may be a problem, is that the doors in the home are not level or plumb and do not close properly.

Summary

It is possible to get a bargain when buying an as-is property; however, it is not a certainty. If you are just starting with flipping houses, it is better to partner with professionals to get helpful guidance. Work with a qualified real estate agent who specializes in distressed properties and partner with a reputable building contractor to increase the chance of success.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

How Growing, Multi-Generational Families Impact Home Design And FinancingThere has been a surge in families who have multiple generations living together. In many cultures, children take care of their parents as they age. This is done in an effort to repay the parents for raising them during their childhood.

At the same time, when there are multiple generations living together in the same home, there are some changes in both home design and financing.

Financing a Multi-Generation Home

Anyone who is looking to finance a multigeneration home will need to detail their financing plan to the mortgage lender. The lender always wants to know how the loan is going to be repaid. The more details someone can supply, the better the chances are that the application will be approved.

A common arrangement is having the grandparents supply the down-payment. They are more likely to have a ready supply of cash-on-hand, often in the home of equity from their prior home.

Then, parents typically supply monthly payments. They are more likely to a stable source of income given that they are likely still employed. 

The Home Design of a Multi-Gen Home

Given that more and more people are indicating their willingness to live in a multi-gen home, this is having an impact on home design as well. Many of these homes have a first-floor bedroom. While these were unusual before, having first-floor bedrooms is important for older relatives. This allows them to avoid having to take the stairs, reducing the risk of falls.

In addition, many people want to provide their older relatives with a feeling of independence while living in the home. This can be accomplished by providing a small kitchenette in the first-floor bedroom. There is often a separate entrance as well. Some families are even interested in having a separate guest house on their property.

Investing in a Multi-Gen Home in the Future

As multiple generation housing arrangements continue to increase throughout society, the financing and home design will continue to evolve. For this reason, it is important for everyone considering this living arrangement to stay up to date on the trends in this industry. It might impact how they design and finance their home for their elderly family members in the future.

Talk with your trusted real estate and mortgage financing professionals to get the best advice on your personal situation. They are experienced in designing solutions for every possible scenario.