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Before making the decision to buy a home, it's important to plan for all the costs you’ll be responsible for. While you're busy saving for the down payment, don't forget you’ll want to prep for closing costs too.

Here’s some helpful information on what those costs are and how much you should budget for them.

What Are Closing Costs?

A recent article from Bankrate explains:

Closing costs are the fees and expenses you must pay before becoming the legal owner of a house, condo or townhome . . . Closing costs vary depending on the purchase price of the home and how it’s being financed . . .”

Simply put, your closing costs are the additional fees and payments you have to make at closing. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:

How Much Are Closing Costs?

According to the same Freddie Mac article mentioned above, they’re typically between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of your home. With that in mind, here’s how you can get an idea of what you’ll need to budget.

Let’s say you find a home you want to purchase at today’s median price of $384,500. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,690 and $19,225.

But keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above or below this price range, your closing costs will be higher or lower.

Make Sure You’re Prepared To Close

Freddie Mac provides great advice for homebuyers, saying:

“As you start your homebuying journey, take the time to get a sense of all costs involved – from your down payment to closing costs.”

The best way to do that is by partnering with a team of trusted real estate professionals. That gives you a group of experts to help you understand how much you’ll need to save and what you’ll want to be prepped for. It also means you have go-to resources for any questions that pop up along the way.

Bottom Line

Planning for the fees and payments you'll need to cover when you're closing on your home is important. Partnering with a local real estate professional can give you the guidance and confidence you need throughout the process.

The new year is right around the corner, and you might be wondering if 2024 will be the right time to buy or sell a home. If you want to make the most informed decision possible, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about what's ahead for the housing market. Spoiler alert: the projections may be better than you think. Here’s why.

Experts Forecast Ongoing Home Price Appreciation

Take a look at the latest home price forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

As you can see in the orange bars on the left, on average, experts forecast prices will end this year up about 2.8% overall, and increase by another 1.5% by the end of 2024. That’s big news, considering so many people thought prices would crash this year. The truth is, prices didn’t come tumbling way down in 2023, and that’s because there just weren’t enough homes for sale compared to the number of people who wanted or needed to buy them, and that inventory crunch is still very real. This is the general rule of supply and demand, and it continues to put upward pressure on prices as we move into the new year.

Looking forward, experts project home prices will continue to rise next year, but not quite as much as they did this year. Even though the expected rise in 2024 isn't as big as in 2023, it's important to understand home price appreciation is cumulative. In simpler terms, this means if the experts are right, according to the national average, after your home's value goes up by 2.8% this year, it should go up by another 1.5% next year. That ongoing price growth is a big part of why owning a home can be a smart decision in the long run.

Projections Show Sales Should Increase Slightly Next Year

While 2023 hasn’t seen a lot of home sales relative to more normal years in the housing market, experts are forecasting a bit more activity next year. Here’s what those same three organizations project for the rest of this year, and in 2024 (see graph below):

 

While expectations are for just a slight uptick in total sales, improved activity next year is a good thing for the housing market, and for buyers and sellers like you. As people continue to move, that opens up options for hopeful buyers who are looking for a home.

So, what do these forecasts show? The housing market is expected to be more active in 2024. That may be in part because there will always be people who need to move. People will get new jobs, have children, get married or divorced – these and other major life changes lead people to move regardless of housing market conditions. That will remain true next year, and for years to come. And if mortgage rates come down, we’ll see even more activity in the housing market.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, it’s important to know what the experts are forecasting for the future of the housing market. When you’re in the know about what’s ahead, you can make the most informed decision possible. Let's chat about the latest forecasts together, and craft a plan for your next move.

Selling your house is no simple task. While some homeowners opt to sell their homes on their own, known as a FSBO (For Sale by Owner), they often encounter various challenges without the guidance of a real estate agent. If you’re currently considering selling your house on your own, here’s what you should know.

The most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed homeowners who’d recently sold their own homes and asked what difficulties they faced. Those sellers say some of the greatest challenges were prepping their home for sale, pricing it right, and properly managing the required paperwork, just to name a few.

When it comes to selling your most valuable asset, consider the invaluable support that a real estate agent can provide. By partnering with an agent, you can navigate the complexities of the selling process with confidence. Here are just a few of the many ways an agent is essential to your home sale:

1. Marketing and Exposure

Effective marketing is a key piece of attracting qualified buyers to your property. Real estate agents have access to various marketing tools and platforms, including MLS listings, professional photography, virtual tours, and extensive professional networks. They can create a compelling listing that highlights your home's best features and reaches a wider audience.

If you sell on your own, you may struggle to match the reach of agents, resulting in limited exposure and, ultimately, fewer potential buyers.

2. Managing Liability and Legal Considerations

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. And all that paperwork and all the legal aspects of selling a home can be a lot to manage. Selling a house without professional guidance exposes homeowners to potential liability risks and legal complications.

Real estate agents are well-versed in the contracts, disclosures, and regulations necessary during a sale. Their expertise helps minimize the risk of errors or omissions that could lead to legal disputes or delays.

3. Negotiations and Contracts

Negotiating the terms of a home sale can be challenging, especially when emotions are involved. You may find it overwhelming to navigate these negotiations alone. Without an agent, you assume this responsibility on your own. This means you’ll have full accountability for working and negotiating with:

Rather than going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. Real estate agents act as intermediaries, skillfully negotiating on your behalf and ensuring that your best interests are protected. They have experience in handling tough negotiations, counteroffers, and contingencies. When you sell your house yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to manage these vendors on your own.

4. Pricing and Housing Market Knowledge

Determining the right asking price for your property is crucial. It requires in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market, including recent sales data, neighborhood trends, and the current demand for properties. Real estate agents have access to comprehensive market data and the expertise to analyze it accurately.

When you sell your house on your own without this comprehensive information, you risk overpricing or underpricing your home. This can result in an extended time on the market and also the risk of leaving money on the table - which decreases your future buying power. An agent is a key piece of the pricing puzzle.

Bottom Line

While selling a home on your own might seem appealing at first, the challenges that come with it can quickly become overwhelming. The expertise that a real estate agent brings to the table is vital for a successful sale. Instead of tackling it alone, let’s connect to make sure you have an expert on your side.

If you’re trying to decide if now’s the time to sell your house, here’s what you should know. The limited number of homes available right now gives you a big advantage. That’s because there are more buyers out there than there are homes for sale. And, with so few homes on the market, buyers will have fewer options, so you set yourself up to get the most eyes possible on your house.

Here’s what industry experts are saying about why selling now has its benefits:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Inventory levels are still at historic lows. Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties.”

Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic:

“We have not seen the traditional uptick in new listings from existing homeowners, so undersupply of housing will continue to heighten market competition and put pressure on prices in most regions. Some markets are already heating up considerably, but price premiums that we saw last spring and summer are unlikely.”

Clare Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.com:

“Well-priced, move-in ready homes with curb appeal in desirable areas are still receiving multiple offers and selling for over the asking price in many parts of the country . . .”

Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow:

“. . . sellers who price and market their home competitively shouldn’t have a problem finding a buyer.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

In the United States, there are over 72 million millennials. If you’re part of that generation and have thought about buying a home, you aren’t alone. According to Zonda, 98% of millennials want to become a homeowner at some point if they aren’t already. But why? There are plenty of reasons you may choose to become a homeowner. Here’s why other millennials have made that decision (see graph below):

This graph shows why millennials are buying homes according to Zonda’s 6th annual millennial survey. The top reasons include building equity, a change in life stage, wanting stability, rising home values, and wanting to make somewhere truly their own. Here’s a look at each in more detail.

Building equity – Homeownership is a long-term investment that allows you to build wealth, increase your net worth, and become more financially stable. Beyond that, the alternative to owning a home is typically renting. With the way rents have risen so dramatically over time, it may make sense to build your own equity instead of the equity of the person you’re renting from.

A change in life stage – As a millennial, you’re reaching your prime homebuying years. That means you may be at the point where you need more space or a different location.

Stability or settling down – This could mean establishing your career or just generally deciding more concretely what you want your life to look and feel like. As that idea becomes clearer, you may want to establish that lifestyle in a particular place and put down roots.

Rising home values – By purchasing a home, you own an asset that traditionally increases in value over time. That can mean your home will have a higher resale value if you decide to move again.

Wanting to make somewhere “mine” – Owning a home gives a sense of freedom because you can customize it however you want, make updates as you see fit, and be yourself in a place that’s solely your own.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of great reasons why millennials are buying homes today. If you’ve thought about becoming a homeowner and any of these reasons resonate with you too, let’s connect to explore your options.

Spring has arrived, and that means more and more people are getting their homes ready to sell. But with recent shifts in real estate, this year’s spring housing market will be different from the frenzy of the past several years. To sell your house quickly, without hassles, and for the most money, be sure to follow these four simple tips:

1. Make Sure You Give Buyers Access

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a seller is limiting the days and times when buyers have access to view your home. In any market, if you want to maximize the sale of your house, you can’t limit potential buyers’ access to view it. If it’s not accessible, it could cost you by sitting on the market longer and ultimately selling for a lower price.

2. Make Your Home Look as Good as Possible on the Inside

For anything to sell, especially your home, it must look inviting. Your real estate agent can give you expert advice on ideal staging for your home. Even updating a room with fresh paint, steam cleaning carpets, or removing clutter from the garage can make a big impact.

3. First Impressions Matter

The old saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” matters when selling your house. Often, the first impression a buyer gets is what they see as they walk up to the front door. Putting in the work in on the exterior of your home is just as important as what you stage inside. Freshen up your landscaping to improve your home’s curb appeal so you can make an impact with potential buyers.

4. Price It Right

This is probably the most important aspect of selling your home in today’s real estate market. If a house is priced competitively, it’s going to sell. Period. To do this, you have to know what’s happening with home prices in your area and understand the factors that are affecting the market right now. That’s why it’s best to work with a trusted real estate professional who can ensure you list your house at the right price.

Bottom Line

Everyone selling their home wants three things: to sell it for the most money they can, to do it in a certain amount of time, and to do all of that with the fewest hassles. To accomplish these goals, let’s connect so you can understand the steps you need to take to sell your home this spring.

Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“There’s still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.”

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

"While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

3. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. Plus, purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are ready to buy.

4. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you. That can help you minimize disruptions, which is especially important this time of year.

5. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. And, many buyers are looking to escape rising rents and avoid falling into the rental trap for another year. As an article from Zillow says:

“Over the next 12 months, rents are expected to grow more than inflation, the stock market and home values."

Your home could be their ticket to leaving renting behind for good.

Bottom Line

There are still many reasons it makes sense to list your house during the holiday season. Let’s connect to determine if selling now is your best move.

Today’s housing market is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. With mortgage rates on the rise, it can be difficult to navigate the market and find the right home for you. However, with a few simple tips, you can weather this rate environment and still achieve your homeownership goals.

Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Expand your search area and criteria.

By looking at a wider range of homes, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right one for you. Additionally, be flexible on your must-haves and be willing to compromise on things like square footage or number of bedrooms.

2. Be aware of rising mortgage rates and how they will impact your monthly payments.

Rates have been historically low for the past two years, but that is changing. Make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping for homes so you know how much you can afford. Homes may seem like they have become unaffordable, but with the right research and the right team on your side, you can still find the home of your dreams. Work with a loan officer to find the right loan product for your needs and budget.

3. Explore alternative financing options.

There are a number of programs available that can help buyers with down payments, closing costs, and more. Look for grants, gift funds, and down payment assistance. There are even some programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans. Speak with a loan officer to learn more about these options.

If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, let’s connect. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction. 

Educate yourself about the current pet-friendly market and where your home would fit in.

The real estate industry is an ever-changing one, and it doesn't stop for anyone. The market today is more competitive than ever, and you need to market your home in a way that will get it noticed and sell quickly. How do you do that?

Pet-friendly Home Amenities that Buyers Want

Eighty-one percent of Americans claim that their next living situation largely depends on whether the home is pet-friendly or not. For this reason, you must market your home as a pet-friendly living space. Some of the pet-friendly amenities you should make sure are available include:

1. Indoor Playground
People love to play with their dogs and will enjoy having an area in their home to do just that. You can create this by adding in some exercise equipment, a pool, or other fun things for the pet to enjoy. It's also great to add an indoor version of a dog run where they can race around and socialize safely, especially during winter when it's too cold or wet outside.

2. Pet-Door
Did you know that 91% of pet owners consider a pet door the most important factor in their home? Dogs and cats need room to go outside and explore, so you must build a pet door to allow them to do so.

3. Pet-Walk
If you are looking for a safer alternative to installing a pet door, you may want to consider adding in a pet walk instead. It can get installed in the same way as an umbrella on a patio door. It allows the pet to walk out of the house instead of climbing up and down, lessening the risk of injury or a veterinary visit.

4. Pet-Garden
To incorporate the pet's instinct to hunt and roam, add a small fenced garden outside where they can roam freely. This garden is a great option if the home buyer's pets do not do very well with a doggy door but are otherwise friendly and like spending time outside.

5. Pet Feeding Space
To ensure the house is pet-friendly, consider adding a feeding space. It includes adding in a place to feed the pet as well as a place to remove the waste. It can get done by installing a countertop or low table and adding a food bowl and water dish.

6. Pet Bed
A pet bed is another excellent feature to add when making a home renovation to make the place more pet-friendly. It gives the pet another area to relax in and makes the space feel more like their own.

What to Avoid When Having Pets at Home

There are a few things that you should avoid when trying to make your home pet-friendly for your buyers:

1. Indoor Plants
Some indoor plants are poisonous to pets, which can be a major potential problem if it is a part of the home. A few examples of such plants include:
-Spider plant
-Philodendron
-Shrubs
-Pencil plant
-Ivy

2. Indoor Mold
Molds contain chemicals that can be harmful to animals, and this can lead to several health problems, including death. To avoid this, clean the home's carpet regularly to lower the potential for mold growth.

3. Sharp Objects
You must cover sharp surfaces with plastic to protect the pet from injury. You can also completely remove these surfaces when making home updates to avoid any accidents.

4. Uncovered Vents
As a home seller, you should ensure a covering protects all the vents so the pet can't get in or knock themselves over and get injured.

5. Unsafe Electrical Outlets
Another thing to cover is the electrical outlets. Little paws can knock these over easily, causing a fire hazard. You should also ensure guardrails on the outlets to prevent accidental contact.

Staging Tips that Appeal to Home Buyers Who are Pet Owners

You don't have to have a pet-friendly home to appeal to your home buyers. You just need a little bit of knowledge on how you can use these ideas to make your home sell faster. The first thing you need to do is capitalize on the popularity of the pets. You can do this by making the house feel more "dog-friendly" than you would by adding doggy toys, dog runs, and outdoor areas for playing with the pet. It would also help if you tried to use the home design to your advantage. For instance, you could say that the living room is large enough for a dog bed.

Since millennials are more likely to have a pet than any other generation, you should consider making the home more modern. Part of making a home appeal to millennials is to have open spaces.

Features of Pet-Friendly Homes to Include in your Listings

When making a listing of your home, use some of these features to make it a more pet-friendly space:

1. Enclosed Porch
A home buyer with a pet will want an enclosed porch where the pet can relax without necessarily getting themselves dirty.

2. Pet Steps
A pet owner will want to ensure that the steps are large enough for the pet to walk up and down.

3. Fenced Backyard
A fenced backyard is a popular way to ensure that the pets are safe. It will also allow the pet to roam freely outside without being on a leash.

4. Low Beams
Low beams are important for larger pets. Catteries are common in homes with larger animals; a low beam can help facilitate this without the animal bumping into it or knocking it over.

It does not matter how outdated your house previously was if you hire an expert in real estate to assist you in updating the appearance and features of your property.

These insurance policies provide diverse and equal protection for your real estate investments.

Title insurance is a type of liability insurance most commonly found in the United States and Canada. It protects against economic damage caused by a defect in title to your real estate and the invalidism or nonbinding of mortgage loans. As a homeowner, title insurance protects your property ownership. On the other hand, home insurance is a type of property insurance that protects you from financial loss due to natural disasters, theft, or different types of covered disasters. Most home loan lenders will require proof of home insurance that covers the total value or fair price of the home before financing anything.

How Much Coverage Does Title Insurance Policy Offer

Title insurance has three policies: owner’s policy, lender’s policy, and construction loan policy. They all cover different liabilities for the various participants in a real estate transaction. It is sometimes called a loan policy because it is only issued to home loan lenders.

An owner’s policy covers:

A lender’s policy works to protect the lender from possible losses if the seller cannot legally transfer title rights. The lender is protected up to the amount of the loan.

Many states have separate policies for construction loans. Acquiring title insurance for construction loans involves a "Date Down" endorsement, which acknowledges that the property's insurance cover has increased due to construction funds invested in the real estate.

How Much Coverage Does Home Insurance Policy Cover

There are several types of homeowners' insurance in the United States that have become industry standards. They are designated HO-1 through HO-8 and offer varying levels of protection depending on the homeowner's needs and the type of property receiving the cover. There are three types of coverage; actual cash value, replacement cost, and extended placement cost. The policy covers four kinds of incidents: interior damage, exterior costs, damage to personal belongings, and injuries experienced while on the property.

It covers the costs of damages due to any unfortunate event. Home insurance can be claimed for damage due to the following causes:

Cost of the Insurance Policy

When purchasing title insurance, a closing agent initiates the process upon completion of the home purchase agreement. It is a one-time fee that covers two components: a premium charge and service fees. The premium is paid once at the end of the sale. The cost of an owner’s policy is based on the purchase price of the home, while that of the lender is based on the loan amount. The premium on an owner’s policy ranges between $500 and $3,500, depending on your state and insurer.

Several factors influence the cost of a homeowner’s policy, such as your state; the age and method of construction of your home; the average distance from the nearest fire station; your credit score; the insurance provider, etc. In the US, the average cost is $1,312 to $250,000 per year. However, the amount of premiums that you have to pay might be higher or lower than the listed average costs due to the variables mentioned above.

Advantages of Having a Home Insurance Policy

A homeowner policy helps you cover the financial cost of repairing damage to your home. Other benefits include the following:

Advantages of Having a Title Insurance Policy

Owner's title insurance is optional, but the lender's title insurance is required. If a claim arises after purchase, an owner's policy can protect you from losing your equity and your right to live in the residence. Even if you purchase a new home, defects may exist due to previous owners and the building contractor failing to pay all of its contract workers.

Title insurance protects the homeowner for the duration of their property ownership. If unpaid property taxes, outstanding liens, or fines for code violations appear after the property has been purchased, the uninsured homeowner will bear the entire financial burden. However, if you cannot cover these unexpected costs, you may be held liable for far more than you bargained for.

Do You Need Them Both

Now comes the million-dollar question. For liability reasons, the answer is yes. These insurance policies protect you differently and equally for investments made in your real estate. A title policy will only require one premium and offer a cover protecting your property ownership. A home insurance policy has annual premiums and protects you from damages such as theft, vandalism, and natural calamities.

Conclusion

Before you settle on an insurance policy from the service provider, do your due diligence and get quotes from different companies. At first, it might sound like a lot of expenses go into insuring yourself, but later on, you’ll be glad you did it. Protecting yourself and your investments from future unforeseeable and expensive costs relies on having insurance cover. Getting both a title and home insurance cover is a smart way of covering both your flanks. Contact us so we can help you narrow down your choices.

 

Rose Group, with Keller Williams Realty, is comprised of licensed REALTORS® and a dynamic support staff. We’ve focused on providing trusted, expert representation to real estate buyers and sellers in Silicon Valley since 2004—and now we’re in San Diego!
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