Hot Springs Real Estate and Community News

Jan. 5, 2024

Achieving Your Homebuying Dreams in 2024

Achieving Your Homebuying Dreams in 2024 [INFOGRAPHIC]




Some Highlights

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 4, 2024

Why Pre-Approval Is Your Homebuying Game Changer

Why Pre-Approval Is Your Homebuying Game Changer




If you’re thinking about buying a home, pre-approval is a crucial part of the process you definitely don’t want to skip. So, before you start picturing yourself in your new living room or dining on your future all-season patio, be sure you’re working with a trusted lender to prioritize this essential step. Here’s why.

While home price growth is moderating and mortgage rates have been coming down in recent weeks, affordability is still tight.  At the same time, there’s a limited number of homes for sale right now, and that means ongoing competition among hopeful buyers. But, if you’re strategic, there are ways to navigate these waters – and pre-approval is the game changer.

What Pre-Approval Does for You

To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know more about pre-approval. As part of the homebuying process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’re willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. Freddie Mac explains it like this:

A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”

Getting pre-approved starts to put you in the mindset of seeing the bigger financial picture, one step at a time. And the key is actually more than just getting a pre-approval letter from your lender. The combination of pre-approval and strategic budgeting is your golden ticket to understanding what you can actually afford. It saves you from painful heartaches down the road so you don’t fall in love with a house that might be out of reach.

Pre-Approval Helps Show Sellers You’re a Serious Buyer

But that's just the beginning. Let’s face it, there are more people looking to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that creates competition among homebuyers. That means you could see yourself in a multiple-offer scenario when you get ready to make your move. But getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you stand out from other buyers.

In today's fast-moving housing market, having that pre-approval in your back pocket can be your secret weapon. When sellers see you're pre-approved, it tells them you're a strategic and serious buyer. In a world of multiple offers, that's a big deal. As an article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:

If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”

Pre-approval shows sellers you’re more than just a window shopper. You’re a buyer who’s already undergone a credit and financial check, making it more likely that the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or issues. Sellers love that because they see your offer as a reliable one. A win-win, right?

Bottom Line

So, before you start mentally arranging furniture in your dream home, work with a trusted lender to get your pre-approval set. It’ll save you time, stress, and a lot of headaches that could come up along the way without it. The reality is, the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to land the home you’re longing for.


The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 4, 2024

Thinking About Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These Questions

Thinking About Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These Questions




If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, you’re probably paying closer attention than normal to the housing market. And you’re getting your information from a variety of channels: the news, social media, your real estate agent, conversations with friends and loved ones, the list goes on and on. Most likely, home prices and mortgage rates are coming up a lot.

Here are the top two questions you need to ask yourself as you make your decision, including the data that helps cut through the noise.

1. Where Do I Think Home Prices Are Heading?

One reliable place you can turn to for information on home price forecasts is the Home Price Expectations Survey from Fannie Mae – a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.

According to the most recent release, the experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise at least through 2028 (see the graph below):

 

So, why does this matter to you? While the percent of appreciation may not be as high as it was in recent years, what’s important to focus on is that this survey says we’ll see prices rise, not fall, for at least the next 5 years.

And home prices rising, even at a more moderate pace, is good news not just for the market, but for you too. It means, by buying now, your home will likely grow in value, and you should gain home equity in the years ahead. But, if you wait, based on these forecasts, the home will only cost you more later on. 

2. Where Do I Think Mortgage Rates Are Heading?

Over the past year, mortgage rates spiked up in response to economic uncertainty, inflation, and more. But there’s an encouraging sign for the market and mortgage rates. Inflation is moderating, and here’s why this is such a big deal if you’re looking to buy a home.

When inflation cools, mortgage rates generally fall in response. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in recent weeks. And, now that the Federal Reserve has signaled they’re pausing their Federal Funds Rate increases and may even cut rates in 2024, experts are even more confident we’ll see mortgage rates come down.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.comexplains:

. . . mortgage rates will continue to ease in 2024 as inflation improves and Fed rate cuts get closer. . . . a key factor in starting to provide affordability relief to homebuyers.”

As an article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

Mortgage rates likely have peaked and are now falling from their recent high of nearly 8%. . . . This likely will improve housing affordability and entice more home buyers to return to the market . . .”

No one can say with absolute certainty where mortgage rates will go from here. But the recent decline and the latest decision from the Federal Reserve to stop their rate increases, signals there’s hope on the horizon. While we may see some volatility here and there, affordability should improve as rates continue to ease.  

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you need to know what’s expected with home prices and mortgage rates. While no one can say for certain where they’ll go, making sure you have the latest information can help you make an informed decision. Let’s connect so you can stay up to date on what’s happening and why this is such good news for you.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 2, 2024

Things To Consider If Your House Didn’t Sell

Things To Consider If Your House Didn’t Sell




If your listing has expired and your house didn’t sell, it's completely normal to feel a mix of frustration and disappointment. Understandably, you're probably wondering what may have gone wrong. Here are three questions to think about as you figure out what to do next.

Did You Limit Access to Your House?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your house is restricting the days and times when potential buyers can tour it. Being flexible with your schedule is important, even though it might feel a bit stressful to drop everything and leave when buyers want to see it. After all, minimal access means minimal exposure to buyers. ShowingTime advises:

“. . . do your best to be as flexible as possible when granting access to your house for showings.”

Sometimes, the most determined buyers might come from far away. Since they’re traveling to see your house, they may not be able to change their plans easily if you only offer limited times for showings. So, try to make your house available as much as you can to accommodate them. It's simple – if no one’s able to look at it, how will it sell?

Did You Make Your House Stand Out?

When you're selling your house, the old saying matters: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Putting in the work to make the exterior of your home look nice is just as important as how you stage it inside. Freshen up your landscaping to boost your home’s curb appeal so you can make an impact upfront. As an article from U.S. News says:

“After all, if people drive by, but aren’t interested enough to walk through the front door, you’ll never sell your house.”

But don’t let that impact stop at the front door. By removing personal items and reducing clutter inside, you give buyers more freedom to picture themselves in the home. Plus, a fresh coat of paint or thorough floor cleaning can work wonders in sprucing up the house for potential buyers.

Did You Price Your House at Market Value?

Setting the right price is key. While it might be tempting to push the price higher to maximize your profit, overpricing your house can actually turn off potential buyers and slow down the selling process. Forbes notes:

“Pricing a home too high could lead to a slower sale or force the seller to drop their price.”

If your house is priced higher than others like it, it may discourage buyers, resulting in increased time on the market. Pay attention to the feedback people give your agent during open houses and showings. If lots of people are saying the same thing, it might be a good idea to think about lowering the price.

For all these insights and more, rely on a trusted real estate agent. A great agent will offer expert advice on relisting your house with effective strategies to get it sold.

Bottom Line

It’s natural to feel disappointed when your listing has expired and your house didn’t sell. Let’s connect to determine what happened, and what changes you should make to get your house back on the market.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 2, 2024

3 Keys To Hitting Your Homeownership Goals in 2024

3 Keys To Hitting Your Homeownership Goals in 2024




If buying or selling a home is your goal for 2024, it’s important to understand today’s housing market, know your why, and work with industry experts to bring your homeownership vision for the new year into focus.

Over the last year, the economy had a big impact on the housing market, and likely on your wallet too. That’s why it’s critical to have a clear picture of not just the market today, but also on what you want out of it when you buy or sell a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.comexplains:

The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, so that you can stay in your home long enough that buying is a sound financial decision.

Here are a few things to think through as you define your goals for 2024.

1. Know Your Why

You’re dreaming about making a move for a reason – what is it? No matter what’s happening in the market, there are still many compelling reasons to buy a home today. Your needs may have changed in a way your current house can’t address, or you could be ready to step into homeownership for the first time. Use your why and your motivation as a guidepost in partnership with an expert advisor to make sure your move gives you a lasting sense of accomplishment.

2. Figure Out What Your Next Home Needs To Look Like

You know you want to move, but how would you describe your dream home? The number of homes for sale has grown recently, and that could mean more options to choose from when you buy. But overall housing supply is still lower than more normal years in the market, so you’ll have to work closely with a pro to find what you’re looking for. Just be sure to keep your budget in mind as you balance your wants and needs. The better you understand what’s essential and where you can be flexible, the easier it will be to find a home that’s right for you.

3. Determine if You’re Ready To Buy

Getting clear on your budget and available savings is essential before you get too far into the process. Partnering with a local agent and a lender early is the best way to make sure you’re in a good position to buy. This could include planning how much to save for a down payment, getting pre-approved for a home loan, and assessing your current home equity if you’re selling your existing house.

A Professional Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Process

Buying or selling a home takes expertise to navigate. If that feels a bit overwhelming, that’s normal. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from your goals this year. A trusted expert will help you bridge that gap and give you the facts and advice you need about today’s housing market.

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to plan how to make your homeownership dreams a reality in 2024.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 30, 2023

The Benefits of Working With an Agent When You Sell Your House

The Benefits of Working With an Agent When You Sell Your House [INFOGRAPHIC]




Some Highlights

  • When it comes to selling your house, the expertise of a trusted real estate agent can make a big difference.
  • They’ll explain what’s happening today, what that means for you, and how to price and market your house. They’re also skilled negotiators and well versed in the contracts and disclosures involved.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert advice throughout the entire process.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Dec. 30, 2023

What You Need To Know About Saving for a Home in 2024

What You Need To Know About Saving for a Home in 2024




If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing what to budget for and how to save may sound intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be. One way to ease those concerns is to make sure you understand some of the costs you may encounter up front. And to do that, always turn to trusted real estate professionals. They can help you set a plan and take a strategic look at your budget and your process before you even get started.

Here are just a few things experts say you should be thinking about.

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? While every buyer’s situation is different, there’s a common misconception that putting 20% of the purchase price down 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 trusted real estate professionals to go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires. The more you know ahead of time, the easier the process will be.

2. Closing Costs

Make sure you also budget for closing costs, which are a collection of fees and payments made to the various parties involved in your transaction. Bankrate explains:

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’ve already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about buying 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 local area. They’ll advise you on what moves you should make so you can make the best possible decisions throughout the buying process.

Bottom Line

When buying a home, being informed about what to save for is key. Let’s connect so you’ll have an expert on your side to answer any questions you have along the way.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 27, 2023

Retiring Soon? Why Moving Might Be the Perfect Next Step

Retiring Soon? Why Moving Might Be the Perfect Next Step




If you’re thinking about retirement or have already retired this year, it’s a good time to consider if your current house is still a good fit for the next chapter in your life.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few things to think about as you decide whether or not to sell and make a move.

How Long You’ve Been in Your Home

From 1985 to 2008, the average length of time homeowners typically stayed in their homes was only six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is rising today, meaning many homeowners are living in their houses even longer (see graph below):

 

When you live in a home for a significant period of time, it’s natural for you to experience a number of changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

How Much Equity You’ve Gained

Additionally, if you’ve been in your house for more than a few years, you’ve likely built-up significant equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because the longer you’ve been in your house, the more likely it’s grown in value due to home price appreciation. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below):

 

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by nearly 60%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home since 1991 saw it more than triple in value over that time.

Consider Your Retirement Goals

Whether you're looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or simply be closer to loved ones, your home equity can be a key to realizing your homeownership goals. NAR shares that for recent home sellers, the primary reason to move was to be closer to loved ones.

Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate agent can work with you to find the best option. They’ll help you sell your current house and guide you through buying the home that’s right for your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

Retirement can bring about major changes in your life, including what you need from your home. Let’s connect to explore the available homes in our area.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 26, 2023

Get Ready To Buy a Home by Improving Your Credit Score

Get Ready To Buy a Home by Improving Your Credit Score




As the new year approaches, the idea of buying a home might be on your mind. It’s an exciting goal to set, and it's never too early to start laying the groundwork. One crucial step to prepare for homeownership is building a solid credit score.

Lenders review your credit to assess your ability to make payments on time, pay back debts, and more. It’s also a factor that helps determine your mortgage rate. An article from CNBC explains:

“When it comes to mortgages, a higher credit score can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. This is because your credit score directly impacts your mortgage ratewhich determines the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.”

This means your credit score may feel even more important to your homebuying plans right now since mortgage rates are a key factor in affordability, especially today.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median credit score in the U.S. for those taking out a mortgage is 770. But that doesn’t mean your credit score has to be perfectAn article from Business Insider explains generally how your FICO score range can make an impact:

“. . . you don’t need a perfect credit score to buy a house. . . . Aiming to get your credit score in the ‘Good’ range (670 to 739) would be a great start towards qualifying for a mortgage. But if you’re wanting to qualify for the lowest rates, try to get your score within the ‘Very Good’ range (740 to 799).”

Working with a trusted lender is the best way to get more information on how your credit score could factor into your home loan and the mortgage rate. As FICO says:

“While many lenders use credit scores like FICO Scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders may use to determine your actual interest rates.”

If you’re looking for ways to improve your score, Experian highlights some things you may want to focus on:

  • Your Payment History: Late payments can have a negative impact by dropping your score. Focus on making payments on time and paying any existing late charges quickly.
  • Your Debt Amount (relative to your credit limits): When it comes to your available credit amount, the less you’re using, the better. Focus on keeping this number as low as possible.
  • Credit Applications: If you’re looking to buy something, don’t apply for additional credit. When you apply for new credit, it could result in a hard inquiry on your credit that drops your score.

A lender will help you navigate the process from start to finish, from assessing which range your score falls in to telling you more about the specifics for each loan type.

Bottom Line

As you set your sights on buying a home in the upcoming year, a focus on boosting your credit score could help you get a better mortgage rate when the time comes. If you want to learn more, connect with a trusted lender.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 26, 2023

These Non-Financial Benefits Turn a House into a Happy Home

These Non-Financial Benefits Turn a House into a Happy Home




There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too. Here’s why.

The word home truly means something different to everyone. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones around the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in your favorite chair, the emotional connections we have to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that turn a house into a happy home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re ready to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order once you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like your special place. Go ahead and smile – you’ve earned it.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel refreshed and recharged.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like a large backyard for entertaining or room for a home office) or you simply want to move closer to your loved ones, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-house yoga studio. You can do these things and much more when you own your home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to buy your first home, or you’re ready to move into a different one to meet your changing needs, think about the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Real Estate News