Monday, March 25, 2019 / by Amy McLeod
According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $3,143 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $3,436 last year.
Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals. For anyone looking to buy a home in 2019, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!
The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.
Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%. Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.
If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% ...
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 / by Amy McLeod
Welcome to the best—and worst—time to buy a home: spring! Yes, it's peak home-buying season. However, it’s no bed of roses.
Knowing what to expect is half the battle, and can help you use these highs and lows to your advantage!
So consider this an essential prep course. Ready to dive into the best of times and the worst of times for home buying?
You’ll love: All the inventory
One of the best things about buying a house during the spring is that you have a lot more options to choose from.
“New listings tend to flood the market in April and May,” says Kimberly Sands, a real estate broker in Carolina Beach, NC. Just keep in mind that with so much inventory out there, you’ll want to make sure to stick to your search and price parameters to avoid getting overwhelmed.
You’ll hate: All the competition
Busier times mean more buyers and, thus, more competition—which explains why bidding w ...
Wednesday, January 02, 2019 / by Amy McLeod
As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.
Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford ...
Monday, December 17, 2018 / by Amy McLeod
There comes a time in many people’s lives—usually when the words “baby” or “school district” become a regular part of the vocabulary—when people flee the glamorous city to the charming suburbs. Only where, exactly, should you go? How do you find that perfect place where your neighbors seem simpatico rather than psycho?
Alison Bernstein once struggled with these same questions when contemplating moving her own family outside New York City.
“We made the quintessential buyer’s mistake,” says Bernstein. “We picked the perfect town, or so it seemed, based on our checklist. But the problem is, you very seldom know what you should look for, and you don’t consider vital intangibles. So we, like so many people, made a bad decision."
They picked a suburb that, looking back, "was great, but just not a good personality fit for us," she says. In short, it was too big. "I grew up in a small to ...
Monday, December 03, 2018 / by Amy McLeod
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insight report revealed that home prices have appreciated by 5.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.7% over the next year.
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4.8%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase in 2019.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A yea ...