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Buying Myths

The Dramatic Impact of Homeownership on Net Worth

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If you’re trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home this year, here’s a powerful insight that could give you the clarity and confidence you need to make your decision.

Every three years, the Federal Reserve releases the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), which compares net worth for homeowners and renters. The latest report shows the average homeowner’s net worth is almost 40X greater than a renter’s (see graph below):

One reason a wealth gap exists between renters and homeowners is because when you’re a homeowner, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payment each month. When you own a home, your monthly mortgage payment acts like a form of forced savings, which eventually pays off when you decide to sell. As a renter, you’ll never see a financial return on the money you pay out in rent every month. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, explains it like this:

“Renters don’t capture the wealth generated by house price appreciation, nor do they benefit from the equity gains generated by monthly mortgage payments . . .”

The Largest Part of Most Homeowner Net Worth Is Their Equity

Home equity does more to build the average household’s wealth than anything else. According to data from First American and the Federal Reserve, this holds true across different income levels (see graph below):

The blue segment in each bar represents how much of a homeowner’s net worth comes from their home equity. Based on this data, it’s clear no matter what your income level is, owning a home can really boost your wealth. Nicole Bachaud, Senior Economist at Zillow, shares:

“The biggest asset most people are ever going to own is a home. Homeownership is really that financial key that helps unlock stability and wealth preservation across generations.”

If you’re ready to start building your net worth, the current real estate market offers several opportunities you should consider. For example, with mortgage rates trending lower lately, your purchasing power may be higher now than it has been in months. And, with more inventory coming to the market, there are more options for you to consider. A local real estate agent can walk you through the opportunities you have today and guide you through the process of finding your ideal home.

Bottom Line

If you’re unsure about whether to rent or buy a home, keep in mind that owning a home can increase your overall wealth in the long run, no matter your income. To discover more about this and the many other benefits of homeownership, connect with a local real estate agent.

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Buying Myths

The First Step: Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Buying Myths

Why You Want an Agent’s Advice for Your Move

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No matter how you slice it, buying or selling a home is a big decision. And when you’re going through any change in your life and you need some guidance, what do you do? You get advice from people who know what they’re talking about.

Moving is no exception. You need insights from the pros to help you feel confident in your decision. Freddie Mac explains it like this:

“As you set out to find the right home for your family, be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid pitfalls.”

And while perfect advice isn’t possible – not even from the experts, what you can get is the very best advice out there.

The Power of Expert Advice

For example, let’s say you need an attorney. You start off by finding an expert in the type of law required for your case. Once you do, they won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end, or how the judge or jury will rule. But what a good attorney can do is walk you through the most effective strategies based on their experience and help you put a plan together. They’ll even use their knowledge to adjust that plan as new information becomes available.

The job of a real estate agent is similar. Just like you can’t find a lawyer to give you perfect advice, you won’t find a real estate professional who can either. That’s because it’s impossible to know everything that’s going to happen throughout your transaction. Their role is to give you the best advice they can.

To do that, an agent will draw on their experience, industry knowledge, and market data. They know the latest trends, the ins and outs of the homebuying and selling processes, and what’s worked for other people in the same situation as you.

With that expertise, a real estate advisor can anticipate what could happen next and work with you to put together a solid plan. Then, they’ll guide you through the process, helping you make decisions along the way. That’s the very definition of getting the best – not perfect – advice. And that’s the power of working with a real estate advisor.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you want an expert on your side to help you each step of the way. Connect with a real estate professional so you have advice you can count on.

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Buying Myths

The Truth About Down Payments

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If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment. That might be because you’ve heard you need to save 20% of the home’s price to put down. Well, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. That means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize.

As The Mortgage Reports says:

“Although putting down 20% to avoid mortgage insurance is wise if affordable, it’s a myth that this is always necessary. In fact, most people opt for a much lower down payment.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, for all homebuyers today it’s only 15%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 8% (see graph below):

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The big takeaway? You may not need to save as much as you originally thought.

Learn About Resources That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

According to Down Payment Resource, there are also over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and many of them are intended to help with down payments.

Plus, there are loan options that can help too. For example, FHA loans offer down payments as low as 3.5%, while VA and USDA loans have no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

With so many resources available to help with your down payment, the best way to find what you qualify for is by consulting with your loan officer or broker. They know about local grants and loan programs that may help you out.

Don’t let the misconception that you have to have 20% saved up hold you back. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, lean on the professionals to find resources that can help you make your dreams a reality. If you put your plans on hold until you’ve saved up 20%, it may actually cost you in the long run. According to U.S. Bank:

“. . . there are plenty of reasons why it might not be possible. For some, waiting to save up 20% for a down payment may “cost” too much time. While you’re saving for your down payment and paying rent, the price of your future home may go up.”

Home prices are expected to keep appreciating over the next 5 years – meaning your future home will likely go up in price the longer you wait. If you’re able to use these resources to buy now, that future price growth will help you build equity, rather than cost you more.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that you don’t always need a 20% down payment to buy a home. If you’re looking to make a move this year, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to start the conversation about your homebuying goals.

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The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in these article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Let's Talk Real Estate and Keeping Current Matters, Inc. do 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. Let's Talk Real Estate and Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.