Imagine never having to pay rent again. Instead of paying a landlord every month, your monthly housing budget could go toward owning your dream home. Unless you’ve got rich relatives or a trust fund though, coming up with a down payment of 3 percent to 20 percent can seem a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. Here are 8 ways you can start saving for a down payment today!
Reduce your current housing expenses. Your monthly rent is your most costly expense each month. Cut that bill by getting a roommate, moving to a smaller or less expensive place, or moving in with a relative for the short-term, and save the difference in a dedicated account for your down payment.
Get a part-time job or a freelance gig. Increase your income by getting a part-time job or doing freelance work on the side. You could get a traditional part-time job in fast food or retail, but think beyond that to earn some extra cash. Are you good with technology, pets, words or art? Become a consultant, dog walker, blog writer or Etsy artist.
Cut daily living expenses. Do you get a $7 latte each morning? Are you paying for a gym membership you rarely use? Do you spend a lot on take-out? Those costs add up. If you cut non-essential expenses, you could yield a few hundred bucks each month.
Shop for your new insurance. Car insurance can be pricey, particularly if you are young. If you work with an insurance agent, ask if there are discounts available, or if they can get you a better price. For example, you can usually get a discount by getting your car insurance and renter’s insurance from the same carrier. You can also shop online for different types of insurance at an online site like Esurance.com. Caution: Be sure you are comparing coverages, not just price.
Set up automatic savings deductions. To help you discipline yourself, set up an automatic deduction into your savings account with each paycheck. This is an easy way to save your money before you get a chance to spend it.
Get rid of unwanted stuff. Whether you’ve got college textbooks you don’t need or slightly outdated electronics you’ve already replaced, there is a market for your unwanted stuff. There are lots of online marketplaces – Facebook, OfferUp, Craigslist, etc. – where you can sell your items online. Just be careful and always transact business in a safe, public place.
Save your tax refund and bonus checks. If you get a refund at tax time, bonus checks at work or a birthday check from your parents, put that money in the bank!
Pay down debt. High interest rates on credit cards or paying interest on multiple student loans can eat into your budget. Pay down your credit cards with the highest interest rates first, and consider consolidating your student loans to reduce the total interest paid.
With good planning, budgeting and discipline, you’ll be ready to start home shopping before you know it.
Donna Patane gave Team Marti a five-star review on Zillow and said she is ‘highly likely to recommend’ me to others. We helped her sell a single-family home in Auburn, Washington.
‘Marti Reeder and her team recently helped us sell our $750,000 home in Auburn. This was our seventh home sale over the course of many years, and Marti provided us with the best experience we have ever had. From our first meeting to her market analysis of our home to her marketing plan andmaterials, she exceeded our expectations. She sold our home in about two weeks for our asking price, and she and her team continued their excellent service right through closing. We highly recommend Marti for all of your real estate needs.’
Buying a home can be a difficult decision, particularly in a hot real estate market, but research shows that buying a home is a great investment — and is more financially advantageous than renting. Here are three reasons to consider buying a home this fall:
Prices will keep going up. According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, homes have appreciated by 6.7 percent in the last 12 months. They are expected to increase another 5 percent over the next year, so the home you are looking at buying today will be 5 percent more this time next year.
Mortgage rates will also go up. Mortgage and banking experts project that interest rates for 30-year mortgages will go up, which means your monthly mortgage payment will also go up. Buy now and lock in an interest around 4 percent.
You’re paying someone’s mortgage; it might as well be yours. Even if you are renting, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage. Why not take that same amount of money to buy your own home.
If you aren’t sure if this is the right time for YOU to buy, let us know. We’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your circumstances.
Fortunately, Western Washington has avoided the recent hurricanes and earthquakes , but we are not immune to natural disasters. In addition to wildfires, we are vulnerable to volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthworks and flooding. No matter where you live, it is important to know what disasters could strike and be prepared. Here are the steps to making a disaster survival plan, compliments of Ready.gov.
Step 1: Create a plan with your family or household starting with these four questions:
(a) How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
(b) What is my shelter plan?
(c) What is my evacuation route?
(d) What is my plan to communicate with my family or household
Step 2: Consider the specific needs of your household, so you can tailor your plan to meet those needs. Factors to think about include:
This summer was a great time to list your Kent, Covington, Maple Valley, Auburn or Black Diamond home, but if you missed your window, don’t despair. Fall is in the air, and in our current market, it is still a good time to sell. In fact, here are five reasons to consider selling your home this fall.
Demand remains strong. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyer demand is strong across most of the country. In our area, home inventory is low, so buyers are competing for homes on the market, so sellers often get multiple offers once they list.
There is less competition now. While inventory is low, experts anticipate that a new wave of homes on the market is coming. Why? The average number of years a homeowner would stay in their home was six, but it is now now, so homeowners who bought in 2008-2010 will have accumulated equity, giving them the freedom to put their homes on the market. If you wait until that happens, demand will drop, and so will prices.
The selling process is quicker than normal. Because the housing market is competitive right now, buyers are doing their part to stand out from the crowd, so sellers will choose them. This includes getting pre-approved for a mortgage, so when they are ready to buy, they’ve already got a tentative commitment from their mortgage lender. This speeds up the process for closing.
Now is the time to move up! According to CoreLogic, prices are expected to appreciate by 5.2 percent over the next year. That means if you want to upgrade to a larger home or purchase a luxury home, you will get a better price on that home now than you will a year from now. The longer you wait, the higher that luxury home will cost.
It’s time to move to the next stage of your life. Right now buying a home makes more sense than renting one, so selling your home to purchase another one with appreciating value makes sense. Is your family growing? Did you just get married? Are you downsizing because you’re now an empty nester? These are all good reasons to sell your current home and to buy one that better suits your changing lifestyle.
If you have questions or would like to discuss whether or not this is the right time for you to sell your South King County home, let us know. Team Marti would love to help you understand your options!
CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that ninety-one thousand residential properties regained equity in Q1 2017. The outlook for 2017 remains positive as well, as an additional 600 thousand properties will regain equity if home prices rise another 5% this year.
The study also revealed that:
Roughly 63% of all homeowners have seen their equity increase since Q1 2016
The average homeowner gained about $14,000 in equity between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017
Only 1.6% of residential properties are near-negative equity
Below is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)
Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “long-term health of the U.S. economy.” He went on to say:
“Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”
Of the 93.9% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, 78.8% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home, now.
The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have significant equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)
If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity they have in their homes and are curious about their ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation.
Facebook Testimonial from Cheryl Anderson, July 27, 2017
“Selling the family home of 50 years is not an easy task. I must say, Marti and her team made the process go so smoothly. It was amazing and so easy. Marti definitely knows what she is doing! She got us a great price for our home and very quickly. If you are looking for a trustworthy, knowledgeable agent to buy or sell your home…I highly recommend Marti and her team! You won’t be disappointed!”
You’re thinking about selling your South King County home, and you’re wondering if you need to spend the time and money to stage your home to make it more appealing to potential buyers. After all, it is a seller’s market, and home inventory is low, so buyer’s don’t have a lot of homes to choose from. Is home staging really necessary? To you have to do it? No, staging is not necessary, but it is recommended.
By staging your home, you can appeal to a broader base of buyers who can then envision themselves in your home, because clutter is minimized and your home is depersonalized. Still not convinced? Check out these statistics: 50 percent of staged homes saw a 1 to 10 percent increase in dollar value offers from buyers!
If you are considering selling your home and aren’t sure if staging is right for you, contact Team Marti today. We’d love to share our experiences with staging, and explain how it call help you sell your Kent, Covington or Maple Valley home.