Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

708 S Birch Street, Sisters, OR 97759 
Presented by The Arends Realty Group | Offered at $850,000 | MLS# 220142325

From Keeping Current Matters

Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you’re looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what’s happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start.

Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

1. Consider All Options When the Number of Homes for Sale Is Low

Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices. According to Bankrate:

“Townhomes often cost less than single-family homes of a similar size in the same location.”

In another article, Bankrate also says:

“Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single-family homes and townhouses.”

Condos and townhomes are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.

2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think

Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”

Data from NAR shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):

Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.

There are also down payment assistance programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that’s available, talk with a professional.

3. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Advisor Throughout the Process

Finally, no matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.

If you’re just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved. Once you’re ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer, they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


65% of Buyers Would Make Offer Within 3 Days

121 NW Bond St, Bend, OR 97703
Presented by Sheila Balyeat | Offered at $1,495,000 | MLS# 220141269

From REALTOR® Magazine

Homebuyers realize they need to be quick with their offers in today’s competitive housing market, a new report says. Sixty-five percent of buyers recently surveyed said they’d make an offer within three days of viewing it if they’re interested. Twenty percent say they’d make an offer immediately, according to Bank of America’s new 2022 Homebuyer Insights Report, based on about 2,000 responses.

Homes spent an average of 17 days on the market in March. Eighty-seven percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month, according to National Association of REALTORS® data.

Higher home prices and mortgage rates are straining buyers’ budgets. A home is often the most expensive purchase people make in their lifetime. Buyers are finding they have to budget wisely or increase the amount of money they can devote toward homeownership.

Some buyers say they’ve had to moonlight or take on freelance work to try to earn more money. Fifty-six percent of home buyers surveyed said they are willing to consider a second job to earn supplemental income for a home purchase, according to the Bank of America survey. One-third of prospective buyers said they’d consider starting an online store to sell handcrafted pieces or selling some of their belongings to increase the amount of money they have to purchase a home.

Homebuyers also are showing some willingness to compromise to move toward homeownership, including by:

· Moving to an up-and-coming neighborhood (82%)

· Buying a home further from entertainment, restaurants, and shopping (79%)

· Buying a smaller home (71%)

· Forgoing outdoor space (70%)

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


New-Home Construction Improves Despite High Inflation, Rising Mortgage Rates, and the Shortage of Skilled Labor and Materials

19196 Gateway Loop, Bend, OR 97702
Presented by Jennifer Winans & Sarah Billeter | Offered at $1,749,000 | MLS# 220140435

From realtor.com

The numbers: U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.79 million in March, representing a 0.3% increase from the upwardly-revised figures for the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Compared with March 2021, housing starts were up nearly 4%.

Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.87 million, up 0.4% from February and 6.7% from a year ago.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.73 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.82 million.

What happened: Single-family starts and permits declined compared with both the previous month and March of last year. Every region saw declines in these figures between February and March, aside from the Midwest where new single-family construction rose 7%.

Consequently, multifamily housing projects prevented both housing starts and building permits from declining. Permits for the construction of housing projects with five or more units rose 11% since February, and were up nearly 34% from the same time a year ago. Similarly, multifamily starts climbed 7.5% on a monthly basis and 28% from a year ago.

The construction backlog continued to grow, as the number of housing projects under construction rose 2.3% from the previous month and 24% from a year ago.

Looking ahead: “The shortage of skilled labor, materials, and lots are persistent headwinds to increasing the pace of new construction. According to the February housing starts report, the number of single-family homes authorized but not started was nearly 25% higher than one year ago because of supply-chain disruptions,” said Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at title insurer First American.

“Even with rising interest rates and ongoing issues surrounding geopolitical stability, supply chain issues, and inflation, the overall lack of inventory over the past year has continued to drive demand for more housing starts as builders continue to try to push inventory to market,” said Kelly Mangold, a principal with RCLCO Real Estate Consulting.

Full article at realtor.com


Why a Real Estate Professional Is Key When Selling Your House

60767 Blackfoot Trail, Bend, OR 97702
Presented by Kimberly Hooper | Offered at $1,100,000 | MLS# 220140849

From Keeping Current Matters

With today’s real estate market moving as fast as it is, working with a real estate professional is more essential than ever. They have the skills, experience, and expertise it takes to navigate the highly detailed and involved process of selling a home. That may be why the percentage of people who list their houses on their own, known as a FSBO or For Sale By Owner, has reached its lowest point since 1985 (see graph below):

Here are five reasons why selling with a real estate professional makes more sense, even in today’s hot market:

1. They Know What Buyers Want To See

Before you decide which projects and repairs to take on, connect with a real estate professional. They have first-hand experience with today’s buyers, what they expect, and what you need to do to make sure your house shows well.

If you don’t lean on their expertise, you may spend your time and money on something that isn’t essential. That’s because, in today’s low-inventory market, buyers are willing to take on more of the renovation work themselves. A survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.” 

A professional can help you decide what you need to tackle. It’s not canned advice you could find online – it’s recommendations specific to your house and your area.

2. They Help Maximize Your Buyer Pool

Today, the average home is getting 4.8 offers per sale according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and that competition is pushing prices up. While that’s promising for you as a seller, it’s important to understand your agent’s role in bringing buyers in.

Real estate professionals have an assortment of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the MLS to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. According to realtor.com:

“Only licensed real estate agents can list homes on the MLS, which is a one-stop online shop of sorts for getting a house seen by thousands of agents and home buyers. . . . This is certainly one of many good reasons why the majority of home sellers decide to employ the services of a listing agent rather than going it alone.”

Without access to these tools, your buyer pool is limited. And you want more buyers to view your house since buyer competition can drive your final sales price higher.

3. They Understand the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. That’s why Investopedia says:

“One of the biggest risks of FSBO is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a home.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

4. They’re Trained Negotiators

If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

5. They Know How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. Investopedia explains it like this:

“. . . There is no easy or universal way to determine market value for real estate.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are key to making sure it’s priced to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


Housing Inventory Uptick Expected Within 6 Months

202 G St, Gearhart, OR 97138
Presented by Nicki Whittle | Offered at $2,395,000 | MLS# 21055496

From housingwire.com

Nearly 65% of homeowners planning to sell this year expect to list by the end of summer, which should provide a much-needed influx of inventory that should slow the explosive home price growth seen during the pandemic, according to a Realtor.com survey of prospective sellers.

Realtor.com Wednesday released the results of the online survey of 3,000 consumers conducted in February by HarrisX. More than six in 10 prospective 2022 sellers said they intend to put their homes on the market within the next six months, suggesting some upcoming relief to one of the worst housing shortages in history, it found.

“While sellers are expected to hold the upper hand in 2022, navigating the listing process remains a challenge – particularly for those also buying in today’s fast-paced market,” said George Ratiu, Senior Economist & Manager of Economic Research at Realtor.com. “Homeowners who are ready to move forward with pandemic-delayed plans will find plenty of opportunity this spring and summer. Although accelerating inflation is leading to higher housing costs and living expenses, many buyers remain interested in finding a home. At the same time, recent housing trends suggest demand is beginning to moderate as higher mortgage rates push monthly payments out of some buyers’ budgets, underscoring the long-term need for more affordable inventory.”

Whether the nearly two-thirds of potential sellers follow through with their plans to list in spring or summer will prove integral to buyers hoping to make a purchase before interest rates inch up even higher, according to the news release from Realtor.com.

“In a positive sign that homeowners are serious about listing, many sellers are already getting their home ready. However, they’re doing so with great expectations of the current market, which means buyers should prepare for sellers asking for high offer prices, quick closes, waived contingencies and more,” it said.

Full article at housingwire.com


There Are Several Great Reasons To Consider Buying a Condo Today

1900 S River Dr N401, Portland, OR 97201
Presented by Yvonne Blewett | Offered at $1,200,000 | MLS# 22100298

From Keeping Current Matters

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to break into the housing market but struggling to find a home to buy, condominiums (or condos) could be a great alternative for you.

Here are a few reasons condos may be something you’ll want to consider.

Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget

Supply challenges are a reality across the board in today’s housing market. Broadening your home search to include condos could increase your overall pool of options. Just keep in mind, condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans.

In a recent articleBankrate covers some of these differences:

“Condos are generally more affordable because they come with less space — you likely won’t have your own backyard, for example, and the interior tends to be smaller than the square footage of a single-family home.”

But if the size of a condominium meets your needs, they could match your budget as well. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the difference in the median price for both housing types. For single-family homes, the median price is $363,800. And for condominiums, the median price is lower at $305,400.

So, if budget is top of mind for you, a condominium could be a great fit within your target price range.

Not to mention, buying a condo is a great way to break into the market and start building equity that can help power a future move up. The condo you purchase today may not be your forever home, but it can be a great stairstep that can help you buy your dream home later on.

Find Out if Condo Living Is Right for You 

In addition, owning and living in a condo is also a lifestyle choice. While it’s true they may be smaller than single-family homes, the amenities condos provide could be a draw for many buyers. Less space in your home might mean minimal upkeep, lower maintenance, and more time for you to spend doing the things you enjoy.

To understand if condo life is for you, Bankrate recommends asking yourself a few simple questions:

“Hate to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? What about pressure washing your driveway? Are your finances such that having to lay out $5,000 or more for a new roof will be a burden? . . . Condos tend to work best for those comfortable with most of the aspects of apartment living, minus the built-in maintenance.”

Ultimately, talking with an expert real estate advisor is the best first step to determining if condo living might work for you.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


Contract Signings Slide—But Not Due to Falling Demand

5990 NW Homestead Way, Redmond, OR 97756
Presented by Tarris Rogers | Offered at $939,900 | MLS# 220140916

From REALTOR® Magazine

Pending home sales fell in February for the fourth consecutive month, but the decline isn’t due to waning demand from eager home buyers. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Competition is growing fiercer, even as buyers face record-low inventory.

The National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings—fell 4.1% month over month in February and 5.4% annually. All four major regions of the U.S. registered a decline in annual contract activity last month. “Buyer demand is still intense, but it’s as simple as ‘one cannot buy what is not for sale,’” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Buyers are facing limited choices, higher home prices, and rising mortgage rates, which has led to a 28% annual increase in mortgage payments, according to NAR. Still, many aspiring home buyers are in a rush to get ahead of further rate increases that are likely on the horizon.

Yun is forecasting that 30-year fixed mortgage rates will likely average about 4.5% to 5% for the remainder of the year. He also is forecasting a 7% reduction in home sales in 2022 compared to 2021, partially due to higher costs pricing out more home buyers. “It is still an extremely competitive market, but fast-changing conditions regarding affordability are ahead,” Yun says. “Consequently, home sellers cannot simply bump up prices in the upcoming months but need to assess the changing market conditions to attract buyers.”

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


A Record-Month for Bidding Wars in the U.S.

18000 Sarah Hill Ln, Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Presented by Laura Piccard & Drew Quinn | Offered at $1,999,900 | MLS# 21201774

From Mansion Global

There’s no end in sight to the intense competition for homes that’s upended the U.S. real estate market since the start of the pandemic—especially in the entry-level luxury market.

In February, homes listed between $1 million and $1.5 million recorded the highest bidding-war rate of 76.6%, according to the Redfin report Friday, that analyzed home offers written by its agents. Nationally, a record 68.6% of all homes saw bidding wars on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The percentage of homes facing bidding wars has generally been increasing over the last two years. In April 2020, 32.7% of homes experienced bidding wars compared to 60.2% in February 2021. Even though the growth has been slower since 2021, this year’s performance keeps breaking records.

Full article on Mansion Global


State-by-State Breakdown of Fourth-Quarter Equity Gains

2238 NW Trout Ct, Camas, WA 98607
Presented by Connor Zuvich | Offered at $2,995,000 | MLS# 22389470

From REALTOR® Magazine

Rising home prices have brought rising equity gains for homeowners. In the fourth quarter, the average homeowner nationwide gained about $55,300 in equity over the past year, according to a new analysis released by CoreLogic, its latest quarterly “Homeowner Equity Insights” report.

Western state homeowners are continuing to see some of the largest equity gains by dollar value.

For example, Hawaii, California, and Washington saw the largest increases in average equity gains in the fourth quarter. Hawaii posted an average $128,300 annual gain, followed by a $117,000 increase in California, and $95,500 in Washington.

Full article on REALTOR® Magazine


Down Payment Assistance Programs Can Help You Achieve Homeownership

515 NW Kansas Ave, Bend, OR 97703
Presented by Wendolyn Cooper | Offered at $2,490,000 | MLS# 220139200

From Keeping Current Matters

For many homebuyers, the thought of saving for a down payment can feel daunting, especially in today’s market. That’s why, when asked what they find most difficult in the homebuying process, some buyers say it’s one of the hardest steps on the path to homeownership. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows:

“For first-time home buyers, 29 percent said saving for a downpayment [sic] was the most difficult step in the process.”

If you’re finding that your down payment is your biggest hurdle, the good news is there are many down payment assistance programs available that can help you achieve your goals. The key is understanding where to look and learning what options are available. Here’s some information that can help.

First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible

According to downpaymentresource.com, there are thousands of financial assistance programs available for homebuyers, like affordable mortgage options for first-time buyers. But, of the many programs that are available, down payment assistance options make up the large majority. They say 73% of the assistance available to homebuyers is there to help you with your down payment.

And it’s not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for these programs. Downpaymentresource.com notes:

“You don’t have to be a first-time buyer. Over 38% of all programs are for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home in the last 3 years.”

That means no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, there could be an option available for you.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters