Whether you own a home or looking to buy or sell one, here are the latest Good To Know articles for when you’re ready to take the next step in finding your Forever Home.
HOMEBUYERS, HOME SELLERS, TRANSACTION ADVICE
How to Save the Sale of Your Home
When you sell your home, things can go smoothly or go wrong, and which way it goes depends largely on how well you prepare for the transaction and respond to glitches that may occur along the way.
Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can help you determine the right asking price to sell your home the fastest and for the most money. If you list your home too high, you’ll find that homebuyers become more critical and demanding. If your homebuyer feels good about the purchase, they’re more likely to be reasonable with you.
Some homebuyers may not be well prepared enough to buy a home, so it’s prudent for you to insist that only homebuyers who’re pre-approved by a lender or can prove cash assets be allowed inside your home. Ask to see the lender’s letter of pre-approval before you sign a contract.
During the home inspection, homebuyers may fear that the home needs too much work. If there are repairs or replacements to be done, offer to take care of them immediately or be willing to negotiate on price.
Your agent will monitor each step in the transaction to make sure all parties perform their roles, from good faith deposits, to appraisals, to title searches, on time and in a professional manner.
If you’ve put your home in pristine condition and listed it at fair market value, you’ll prevent many problems from occurring. A reasonable homebuyer won’t walk away from a well-kept home at the right price.
FINANCE, HOMEBUYERS, TRENDS
Will Mortgage Interest Rates Go Lower in 2024?
While many potential homebuyers have been knocked out of the market by higher mortgage interest rates and home prices, there’s hope on the horizon that they’ll have better luck in 2024.
Banks are tightening their lending standards due to increases in credit card and car loan delinquencies, according to Freddie Mac. This is also impacting mortgage applications, credit lines and refinance activity - loan originations were down approximately 30% in October 2023 from the previous year. The good news is that mortgage delinquencies are low compared to other loan types. Inflation is waning, but still remains above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. Consumer spending will decelerate due to slower economic and weaker employment growth which will cause rates to come down in 2024. Continuing homebuyer demand will keep home prices elevating 2.6% in 2024, but with rates dipping as low as 6%, housing will be a little more affordable.
If you’re planning to buy a home in 2024, Lending Tree recommends that you have at least a 3% down payment for a conventional loan –a loan that’s “originated, backed and serviced by private mortgage lenders like banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.” If you have less than 20% down, expect to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) between 0.14% and 2.33% of your loan amount in annual PMI premiums. To get the best interest rate and lower PMI premiums, your credit score must be at least 780 or higher, or you’ll pay a higher interest rate.
HOMEOWNERS, HOMEBUYERS, HOME SELLERS, INTERIOR DESIGN, TRENDS
Best Big Screen Interior Design Ideas
Binge-watching streaming channels is so popular that homeowners are letting gigantic black holes take over their living spaces. The problem is that most homes weren’t built to comfortably accommodate 85 to 97-inch TVs; owning one means making it an awkward focal point above the fireplace that causes neck strain.
Is there a better way? Absolutely. One of the most important interior design principles is scale. Just as too many small items can clutter a space, a single large item like an oversized TV can overwhelm a space unless you can make it look intentionally and elegantly planned.
One way is to purchase a “framed” TV such as the Samsung The Frame, or custom frame any flat screen TV after market. The advantage is that your TV becomes a gorgeous piece of framed art on USB when you’re not watching the screen. The unit lays flush against the wall and any wiring can be hidden in the sheetrock. You can even make the TV/art piece part of a gallery wall or make a bold statement with an accent wall with the TV/art piece as the focal point.
Building a solution is also an option. A good carpenter/contractor can design a wall of built-ins to frame your TV with books, collectibles, and family photographs and create a sliding door or cabinet doors to hide your TV when not in use.
And if you’re selling your home? You can tell potential buyers that the TV stays as a bargaining tool.
HOMEBUYERS, TRENDS, NEW HOMES
How Important is a Large Home to You?
House sizes have come a long way from 1973 when the average home was 1,660 square feet. The average in 2015 was 2,687 square feet, and since then home sizes have fluctuated, according to the economy, mortgage interest rates, and overall affordability. The question is – how much space do you really need?
Automobiles with luxuries like 360 degree back-up cameras, lane change assists and tail-gating prevention have accelerated in price, and so have homes equipped with smart features, walk-in closets, en suite baths, and other can’t-live-without amenities. Homes are larger and come with more bedrooms – most homebuyers want at least three to four so they can use the extra rooms as offices, guest rooms, craft rooms and nurseries.
To help you decide how much home you really need, here are a few things to think about:
Larger homes may have better resale values, but they’re more expensive to maintain, so get a detailed home inspection to help you plan future replacement and repair costs.
Affordability is paramount. Buy a home that you can comfortably afford so you don’t have to live under economic pressure. Let your lender help you determine the most you should spend.
Larger homes tend to be located further away from urban city centers. Think about your commutes to and from work, schools, family, healthcare, etc.
Consider how long you plan to live in the home. The longer you occupy your home, the better it serves as a hedge against inflation while you build equity.
Planning to buy or sell a home in 2024? These are the official FOMC meeting dates to discuss potential interest rate cuts. Market predictions hint at up to 6 cuts this year, impacting mortgage rates. While the FOMC remains cautious, economists anticipate a decline in interest rates. Watch out for rates potentially dipping into the 5's by year-end! Mark these key dates on your calendar:
Apr 30-May 1
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