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New Home Buyers are Taking Charge of the Current Market

Posted On April 13, 2021

Last year, the number of first-time home buyers hit its lowest level in over 30 years. The coronavirus pandemic likely played a large role in the decline, but outside of that, the market had other challenges for first-time buyers as well. Low inventory, high demand, and rising mortgage rates are all making it harder for new buyers to break into the homeowner’s club. Consequently, first-time buyers are having to pave more creative paths to homeownership – paths that may differ from their parents and grandparents.


HUD Holds FHA Premiums Steady, Home Buyers Still Win

Posted On April 06, 2021

Last week, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge announced that there would be no cuts to FHA mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs). Most of the housing industry had hoped for a 0.25% reduction, but for now the benchmark annual MIP rate will remain at 0.85%. 


More First-Time Home Buyers Choose Conventional Over FHA Loans

Posted On March 30, 2021

The FHA Loan has been a cost-effective staple for first-time home buyers since its creation in the 1930s. With low down payments and lenient credit requirements, the FHA Loan has helped millions of home buyers over the years. However, recent data by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has shown a sharp decrease in the number of buyers who are financing their first homes with the FHA Loan. Over the past 1-2 years, more first-time buyers have been choosing the conventional financing route – but why? When might a conventional loan be a better option for first-time buyers? 


Are iBuyers Worth the Buzz?

Posted On February 16, 2021

No, an iBuyer is not the next big Apple product, it’s an online ‘instant buyer’ that is becoming a popular option in today’s housing market. Over the past several years, many home sellers have chosen iBuyers because of their convenience and efficiency. When a seller uses an online iBuyer platform, the purchasing company makes an offer for your house, takes care of upgrades and repairs, and buys the house from you in order to make a small profit when it sells again. Before you choose to go this route, make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer to purchase your home.


Home Buyers and Sellers Set to Score Big in 2021

Posted On January 19, 2021

It’s hard to predict the economic swings we experienced in 2020. From a global slowdown brought on by the pandemic to a booming housing market keeping everything afloat – it was a year full of surprises. But now that a new year is beginning, many are wondering, what’s next? and where do we go from here? And while many things remain unclear, one is nearly certain: the housing market will continue to thrive.


The Real Winner of the Election: Home Buyers and Homeowners

Posted On November 17, 2020

Two weeks ago, millions of Americans flooded the polls to answer one question, and last week, the results finally came in. So, who really won the election? According to the housing market – you did.


More Sellers Requesting Proof of Preapproval Before Allowing Buyers to Tour Home

Posted On July 28, 2020

When you’re thinking about buying a home, you may not think about your mortgage right away.  You could have some idea of what you’d like to put down for a down payment, but the mortgage preapproval process requires extensive paperwork and your preapproval letter is typically only valid for 60 to 90 days.  While real estate professionals have always advocated reviewing your mortgage options before shopping for a home, current market conditions have made preapproval more important than ever.  Mortgage rates have touched down to record lows, buyers are competing over a limited number of homes for sale, and because of the pandemic, sellers are wary of allowing too many strangers into their homes.  In fact, some sellers are requiring letters of preapproval before welcoming prospective buyers into their homes.  Here’s what you need to know.


First-Time Home Buyers: Buy, Build, or Fix Up?

Posted On July 09, 2020

First-time home buyers are facing an especially competitive market this summer.  Record low mortgage rates have made buying a home more affordable and first-time home buyers are expecting to be bidding on fewer homes for sale.  When you’re buying a home, you have the option to buy an existing home that is move-in ready, build a new home in a development or on your own land, or buy an existing home that needs repair or renovation before you move in.  Depending on your market, your options may be limited, and you may have to be flexible. 


Low Mortgage Rates Could Bring Out the Next Wave of Millennial Home Buyers

Posted On June 09, 2020

With this year’s home buying and selling season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, some real estate professionals are predicting a delayed busy season this summer.  Historically low mortgage rates plus cheaper homes for sale could mean the next wave of Millennial home buyers is primed to make a purchase.   After a few years of climbing mortgage rates and steady home price appreciation, previously sidelined first-time home buyers may find current market conditions more affordable. 


What to Expect from Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and Renters Post-Pandemic

Posted On May 14, 2020

The coronavirus or covid-19 pandemic has impacted many industries including the real estate industry.  Widespread layoffs and furloughs have caused economic disruption and social distancing procedures have impacted the way people do business.  As states and municipalities gradually start to reopen, home buyers, home sellers, and renters will start to see the long-term impacts on the post-pandemic housing market. 


Market Recap: Low Mortgage Rates Motivate Home Buyers, ADP Employment Report, and Consumer Credit

Posted On May 08, 2020

Mortgage rates are still historically low, trending lower according to some sources.  Lower rates seemed to have motivated home buyers, and new purchase mortgage applications have increased.  The ADP employment showed significant job loss due to coronavirus closures.  The consumer credit report showed that overall borrowing has slowed. 


How Home Buyers Have Adapted to Socially Distant Home Sellers

Posted On April 14, 2020

With states and counties adapting to social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates to stop the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19, the way prospective home buyers are touring homes is changing.  As an essential service, banks and lenders are still fully operational helping people buy new homes and refinance existing home loans.  Realtors and real estate agents are adjusting to temporary changes by using technology to create 3D home listings, conduct virtual tours, and give prospective home buyers all the information they need to purchase their homes. 


More Young Home Buyers are Choosing VA Loans

Posted On November 26, 2019

The VA Loan is one of the most affordable ways for qualifying Veterans and Active-Duty Military to purchase a home.  The VA Loan does not require a down payment, doesn’t have mortgage insurance, and typically will have a below-average interest rate.  The VA Loan was created in 1944 to help soldiers returning from World War II put down roots and buy homes.  However, it tends to be underutilized as a mortgage option.  Recent data shows, both Millennial and Generation Z home buyers have led to a resurgence in VA Loan usage. 


Medical Debt May Be Hurting More Potential Home Buyers Than Student Debt

Posted On October 15, 2019

In recent years, student loan debt has been one of the biggest obstacles to saving for the down payment on a home, especially for Millennials and younger first-time home buyers.  A recent Zillow survey of 13,000 households nationwide reveals that another type of debt may be hurting home buyers and renters of all ages, even more than student loan debt.


Over Half of Millennial Home Buyers Finance with PMI

Posted On October 08, 2019

Private mortgage insurance or PMI is typically required when the home buyer finances with a conventional loan and puts down less than 20% for the down payment.  Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance is insurance for the lender, in case you default on your mortgage.  PMI is usually added on top of the monthly mortgage payment and this extra cost can quickly add up, especially for first-time home buyers that may not fully understand PMI.  


Home Buyers Rank Air Conditioning Over Proximity to Family and Friends

Posted On September 24, 2019

We’ve all heard the familiar real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location,” but today’s home buyers and renters are consistently ranking this home feature as the most important.  Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that air conditioning was the most important housing feature ranked even above proximity to family and friends. 


Price Gap: What’s for Sale vs. What Buyers Want

Posted On July 23, 2019

Mortgage rates may be on a downward trend, but home buyers in many metros are still facing out of budget home prices.  Researchers at found half of today’s home shoppers are expecting to purchase a property under $288,000.  Unfortunately, that’s 9.1% or $27,000 lower than the median sales price of homes on the market.  In order to bridge that price gap, estimates the market needs roughly 94,000 more homes priced between $100,000 and $340,000, a 15% inventory increase on a market already starved of inventory.


Why Young Home Buyers are Facing Limited Inventory and What They’re Doing About It

Posted On July 02, 2019

For the past few years, home buyers have faced a competitive market with a limited number of homes for sale.  One of the chief factors impacting housing supply is the Baby Boomer generation.  Baby Boomers are staying in their homes longer, instead of downsizing or moving into retirement communities.  This trend has kept previous generations, who are homeowners, in their starter homes longer, preventing would-be first-time home buyers from entering the market. 


38% of Home Buyers Exceed Their Budgets

Posted On June 18, 2019

One of the first steps to buying a new home is setting a reasonable budget.  Getting preapproved for mortgage financing will help you determine how much home you can afford and where you should start looking.  Most mortgage professionals recommend setting a budget below the amount of loan you qualify for, to avoid stretching your finances.  The cost of buying a home comes with the down payment, closing costs, and other ongoing maintenance and renovation costs that may come up during the first few years of homeownership.  A new study from real estate brokerage,, found that an alarming 38% of home buyers exceeded their self-imposed budgets over the past four years.


Survey: Home Buyers of All Ages Looking for Lawns

Posted On May 07, 2019

What do you love most about your home?  A recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) suggests it may be your lawn.  From the survey, 81% of Americans have a lawn or yard and 79% say that a lawn or yard is one of the most important features when buying or renting a home.  A nice sized lawn ranked second behind a kitchen renovation, and the sentiment was shared by all generations.


VA Loan Originations More than Double for First-Time Home Buyers

Posted On March 19, 2019

The VA Loan, a mortgage loan issued by lenders but partially insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, has become the loan of choice for first-time home buyers who have served or are actively serving in the US military.  In 2007, VA Loans were used by approximately 30% of first-time home buyers who were service members.  By 2016, that figure has increased to 78%, with roughly three-fourths of all service members using a VA Loan to purchase their first home.


2019 Buyers Have the Most Options in 5 Years

Posted On February 26, 2019

After years of an increasingly competitive market, home buyers are starting to see more options this year.  According to Zillow, US for-sale home inventory is up 1.2% year-over-year, meaning for the first time in over five years the housing market opened the year with more homes for sale than the previous year.  28 of the 35 largest markets saw inventory increases over the past year.  The most significant inventory increases took place in the busy West Coast markets, that were experiencing some of the most severe inventory constraints.


3 Things First-Time Home Buyers May Not Know

Posted On February 14, 2019

Your first home – how exciting!  Whether you are looking to buy your first home now, or sometime in the future, it’s never too early to do your research.  With the abundance of educational materials available, you may not know where to start.  Forbes contributor and Certified Financial PlannerTM, David Rae, pointed out these three things that first-time home buyers should know, before they start shopping.


Why Rental Data Matters – Especially for Home Buyers

Posted On January 24, 2019

For many, buying their first home is the end of renting.  When you are shopping for a new home, especially if you are a repeat buyer, keeping an eye on the rental market may not seem relevant to you.  However, data suggests that rental prices tend to increase or decrease more rapidly than sales prices and can be a better indicator of the overall health of a housing market.


A Better Market for Buyers in 2019

Posted On January 03, 2019

2018’s year-end data showed housing activity has started to slow.  With both existing home and new home sales falling, there are finally less buyers competing on the crowded market.  After six years of sustained price gains, home price appreciation started to slow this year, dipping below 6% for the first time in six years.  Managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, David Blitzer, predicted, “throughout next year, prices will continue to rise on a national basis in most cities around the country, but the pace of increase will continue to slow.”  This trend could be welcome news for home buyers, especially first-time home buyers. 


How Home Builders Building Smaller Could Help Home Buyers

Posted On December 13, 2018

The phrase “inventory crunch” has become common in today’s housing market, with more and more buyers competing over a limited number of homes for sale.  Some of the causes of the inventory crunch are homeowners choosing to stay in their homes longer and home builders building larger.  Baby Boomers opting to age in place are choosing to renovate or adapt their current homes rather than downsize or migrate, while home builders facing affordability issues with the rising cost of construction materials are choosing to build larger homes to increase their profit margin.  However, with more first-time home buyers in the market for smaller homes, builders may need to build smaller to keep up with buyer demand.


Besides FHA, What Other Low Down Payment Options Do Home Buyers Have?

Posted On December 06, 2018

Last month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Brian Montgomery announced that despite economic momentum, the FHA would not be cutting mortgage insurance premiums this year.  FHA Loans require an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) payment, plus mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan.  Any reduction to Mortgage Insurance Premiums makes FHA Loans more affordable.  FHA Loans are popular amongst first-time home buyers because of their low down payment requirements. 


How the Rust Belt is Attracting Millennial Home Buyers

Posted On November 06, 2018

Midwestern states including Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, sometimes known as the Rust Belt, are experiencing a revival. After the decline of manufacturing bases like Detroit, this region suffered economically.  As coastal home prices increase, and more companies and businesses are choosing to migrate to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions for lower taxes and affordable housing more, causing more Millennials are to put down roots in the Rust Belt.


How many houses should buyers see in a day?

Posted On October 25, 2018

With words like “competitive” and “inventory crunch” in the news lately, home buyers may be feeling the pressure to look at as many listings as they can.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported it takes an average of 10 weeks for home buyers to find the right home, down from the average of 12 weeks five years ago.  While it’s always a good idea to keep your options open, real estate agents caution against viewing too many homes in one day.  Overdoing it with home tours may cause you to forget details about specific houses and mix properties up. 


Generation Z Home Buyers Entering the Market with Help from Family

Posted On October 23, 2018

With so much focus on Millennial home buyers, the next incoming generation of buyers has been slightly overlooked.  According to Zillow, 3% of last year’s home buyers were born after 1995, meaning over 100,000 homeowners across the country are 23 and younger.  “I’m a little surprised to see the numbers as large as they are,” commented Rob Dietz, chief economist and senior vice president for economics and housing policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 


First-Time Home Buyers Outnumber Repeat Buyers

Posted On September 04, 2018

Despite the down payment obstacle, first-time home buyers continue to dominate the housing market.  For the past decade, first-time home buyers have comprised the largest share of home buyers, even though affordability concerns, specifically related to the down payment, have caused many would-be first-time home buyers to delay home purchase. 


More First-Time Home Buyers Using Retirement Money for Down Payment

Posted On August 21, 2018

As more Millennials start to enter the housing market as first-time home buyers, an alarming trend has emerged.  According to a recent Bank of the West survey of 600 homeowners ages 21-34 from, one in three took out loans against their retirement account to pay for their down payment.  Saving for a down payment is one of the most commonly reported obstacles to homeownership.  In fact, almost 70% of renters consider it the greatest barrier to homeownership.  However, borrowing against or withdrawing savings from a retirement account could set the home buyer up for long-term financial consequences.


Millennial Home Buyers’ Biggest Regret

Posted On August 15, 2018

Compared to previous generations, millennials have been slower to become homeowners.  Factors like high student debt, sluggish wage growth, and other residuals from the Great Recession have impacted their ability to buy homes.  Of the millennials who are homeowners (approximately 4 in 10), 68% have expressed buyer’s remorse, with the top concern being spending too much money on the down payment.


Young Home Buyers Facing Affordability Crisis

Posted On July 10, 2018

Home price appreciation is impacting summer selling season, especially for first-time home buyers.  New research from Freddie Mac shows young adults aged 24-35 are hit hardest by affordability constraints. The homeownership rate for this age group has fallen 8% since peaking in 2004.  Based on the survey, 700,000 young adults who did not purchase a home between 2000 and 2016 cited affordability as the main reason. 


First-Time Home Buyers: How to Compete in Today’s Market

Posted On June 28, 2018

Low inventory and an influx of home buyers has created a competitive housing market, especially for first-time buyers.  Starter homes are feeling the inventory crunch, with Baby Boomers living in their larger homes longer, reducing available move-up options for Generation X, and thus starter homes for Millennials. 



3 Ways Home Buyers Can Stand Out in a Seller’s Market

Posted On April 24, 2018

Home buyers are hearing a lot about the “seller’s market” this spring – but what exactly does that mean?  A “seller’s market” occurs when the housing supply dips below a six-month supply.  Based on February’s existing home sales data, it would take just 3.4 months to exhaust all existing home inventory.  Many metros around the country today do not have enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand, creating an increasingly competitive market.  Some home buyers may be wary to enter today’s competitive market. However, there are ways to stand out in a seller’s market and get an offer accepted.


First-Time Home Buyers Hit Hardest by Home Price Appreciation

Posted On November 09, 2017

Home price appreciation has strained housing activity over the past few years, particularly the first-time home buyer demographic.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports, in 2017 home sales to first-time home buyers dropped 34%.  Among the other factors hampering first-time home buyer activity are student debt and lack of available inventory.


Why Home Buyers are Buying Homes “Site Unseen”

Posted On August 08, 2017

When a buyer makes an offer on a home “site unseen,” this means they are making an offer without visiting the property.  Making an offer site unseen can expedite the buying process by reducing the time it takes for one or more walk-throughs or property visits.  According to Redfin’s sample of 3000+ home buyers in May 2017, one in three purchased their property without physically seeing the home.


Over Half of All Home Buyers Put Down Less Than 20%

Posted On July 27, 2017

For most first-time home buyers, the biggest challenge when buying a home is saving for the down payment.  However, the 20% down payment is not as rigid of a requirement as it has been in the past.  Low down payment programs, especially those targeting first-time home buyers, are growing in popularity. 


How Credits Impact Buyers and Sellers

Posted On June 22, 2017

Buyers may request seller credits, like property inspection credits, after the contract is signed.  Asking for credits is somewhat common, so sellers should be prepared to avoid unexpected costs.


Home Buyers are Springing Ahead

Posted On April 11, 2017

Home prices are on the rise in some regions, but buyers are not holding back.  CoreLogic reports that home prices will continue to rise into 2018 due to inventory restrictions and rising rates.  However, this price appreciation is not significant enough to stop home buyers from making a move.


The “Goldilocks” of Home Buyers

Posted On March 21, 2017

Why do homeowners want to move?  According to a survey conducted for Trulia by Harris Poll, most American homeowners are not satisfied with the size of their current home.  The survey found that less than 32% of homeowners would purchase a home that is the same size as their current residence.


What the Heated Housing Market Means for New Home Buyers

Posted On November 03, 2016

The National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and leading lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that home sales are going to heat up in 2017.