Homeowners Should Have Some “Fear of Missing Out” on This Market

If you’ve been thinking about selling and hesitating or simply waiting, you may want to start thinking about how you’ll feel if you miss out on the best time to sell your house in a long time. You never know when (or if) conditions will be like this in the real estate market again.

It’s been a sellers’ market for quite some time now, and with rates going up significantly and home prices still historically high, there’s a lot of chatter about whether or not there’s a real estate “bubble” that’s about to pop. In particular, The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently warned about the potential of a housing bubble and how buyers’ “fear of missing out” (FOMO) is making it worse.

On the other hand, a recent survey revealed that home buyers are still hopeful and feel that it will still be a good time to buy a home in the next three months.

That’s despite the fact that even though there have been signs and reports about the market slowing, according to this Realtor Magazine article, as of March sellers have still been:

  • Receiving an average of 5 offers on their home
  • Selling for above list price over 57% of the time
  • And 87% of listing sold in less than a month

Much of that may very well be fueled by buyers’ FOMO, but it can’t and won’t last forever. That’s how the real estate market works—it goes up, then it goes down, and then back up again in cycles. So even if you “miss out” on this moment in history, there will certainly be a time when home values are this high, or even higher.

But will there be such a combination of high values, low inventory, historically low rates, and high demand? And when will it happen? How will you feel if you “miss out” now?

Those are questions you need to ask yourself if you’ve been toying with the idea of selling your house.

The Takeaway:

Don’t be fueled by fear of missing out, but definitely think about how it would affect you if you did, because the market’s still in your favor…for now at least. If you’re going to sell in the next few years, now is as good a time as any to take advantage of the fact that buyers are still hopeful, offers are plentiful and over asking price, and homes are selling quickly.

Low Mortgage Rates + High Home Values: Should You Tap Into Your Home Equity Right Now?

Low Mortgage Rates + High Home Values: Should You Tap Into Your Home Equity Right Now?

If you own a home, there’s a good chance you’re sitting on a nice chunk of equity. According to this report from Black Knight, the average homeowner got a $48,000 bump in their home value, raising the average equity to $185,000 in 2021.

Considering mortgage rates are still historically low, and home values are high, it can be tempting to tap into your home like it’s an ATM. With hints of rates going up, and values potentially coming down, it can be even more tempting to rush and pull equity out of your house.

Before you do, consider whether or not you should. Take a look at some reasons to tap into your equity, and some reasons not to pull money out of your house:

Good Reasons

  • Home improvements
  • College costs (if the rate is lower than student loan rates you can obtain)
  • Debt consolidation (if you manage credit well and can use it to lower your payments)
  • Emergency expenses
  • Wedding expenses
  • Business expenses

Not So Good Reasons

  • Vacations
  • Buy a car
  • Risky investments (like “hot” stock tips you read online)
  • Pay off credit cards (if it is a recurring problem)

If you determine it makes sense to turn your equity into cash, you have a few options:

Cash-out Refinance

This type of loan allows you to refinance your home for a higher amount than you currently owe, and take the difference in cash. For instance, you owe $100,000, take out a $150,000 loan, and get $50,000 cash. This can be a great option if your current mortgage is at a rate that is higher than current rates, or you have paid down your original loan substantially over time.

Home Equity Loan

These are a second mortgage on your home, usually at a higher rate than the first. Lenders may also be a bit more careful about how much they will lend, since these take second position to your original mortgage if the home is foreclosed on.

Home Equity Line of Credit

These are commonly referred to as a “HELOC.” They’re also a second mortgage, but in the form of a revolving line of credit, much like a credit card. The rate is often variable and fluctuates with changes in the market, but you can find some that are fixed-rate.

The Takeaway:

The current market conditions are favorable for tapping into your home equity if you have a good amount of it. If you decide to do so, just make sure it’s for a good reason. Try not to take out too much equity. Maintaining 20% equity is an ideal benchmark — taking into consideration that values could also drop a bit in the near future — so be safe when estimating how much you’re taking out.

No matter what your reason, only do so if you know you can handle the payments and it won’t put your hard-earned equity and home at risk. And, as always, make sure to seek the advice of your financial advisor, estate planner, and / or real estate agent before turning the equity in your home into cash.

Recently Married? Here Are the Mortgage Tips You Need to Know

You’re recently married. Congratulations! If you’re like many newlyweds, the next thing on your agenda is probably buying a house—and, in order to do that, you may need a mortgage.

But, as a newly-married couple, what do you need to know about successfully getting a mortgage?

recent article from realtor.com outlined key mortgage tips and insights newlyweds should keep in mind as they search for their dream home, including:

  • Review your finances. Before you jump into the home search process, it’s important to understand where both you and your partner stand financially. Sit down and discuss your credit scores and outstanding debt, as both will play a major role in your ability to secure a mortgage.
  • You don’t necessarily have to put both names on the mortgage. If you have excellent credit and little debt, but your partner is in a less ideal financial position (or vice versa), you might want to consider only having one half of your partnership apply for a mortgage; that way, one person’s credit score or debt won’t negatively impact your loan terms (for example, higher interest rates). And don’t worry; as long as both names are on the title, you both own the house—regardless of whether both spouses are on the mortgage.
  • If an interest rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. As newlyweds, you and your partner want to get the most competitive interest rate possible for your mortgage. But if a mortgage rate seems too low to be true, it probably is. For example, there are lenders out there that will offer a super-low interest rate—but also super harsh penalties for late payments, which could put you in a financial bind if you’re ever late with your mortgage payment. If you get offered a loan with a so-low-it’s-hard-to-believe interest rate, it could be a red flag—so make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions before moving forward.

You Can Still Find Your Dream Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing is our new normal—and could continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future. But staying at home and keeping a safe distance from others isn’t preventing real estate agents from helping their clients or potential buyers from exploring and finding their dream homes—they’re just having to get creative.

Thanks to video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, virtual tours are becoming the go-to method for real estate agents to show their properties—and for would-be buyers to continue to explore homes while they’re social distancing at home. Just how popular are these video walkthroughs? According to recent data from Redfinbb, requests for agent-led video home tours increased a whopping 500 percent last week.

The Takeaway:

What does this mean for you? The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to put your home search on hold. Thanks to technology, you can continue to tour properties and find the right home for you and your family—all from a safe distance.

Are Mortgage Myths Holding You Back From Buying A Home?

According to a recent survey from Fannie Mae, a huge percentage of Americans are overestimating what it takes to secure a mortgage—and those misconceptions about mortgage qualifications could be holding people back from purchasing their dream home.

Fannie Mae’s survey aimed at exploring how well consumers understand the basic requirements for obtaining a mortgage. And what they found were a lot of misconceptions. For example, the average consumer believes you need a 10% down payment and a credit score of 650 to secure a mortgage—when, in reality, you only need a down payment of 3% and a credit score of 580 to qualify. Most consumers (a whopping 77%) aren’t even aware that low down payment mortgage programs exist.

The Takeaway:

Don’t let your misconceptions about mortgages hold you back from buying your dream home. Getting a mortgage might be more attainable than you originally believed—even if you have a less-than-perfect credit score or a smaller down payment.