Made a Misstep When It Comes to Housing? You’re Not Alone

Jul 17, 2017 by

Many homeowners and renters are feeling the sting of regret when it comes to their choices and experiences, but less so than five years ago—a progression in perspective as the effects of the housing crisis continue to fade, according to a new survey.

Forty-four percent of respondents in a recently released survey by Trulia look back on the decisions they made about their homes with remorse, a slighter share than the 46 percent who reported similar sentiments in the survey in 2013.

Regrets still exist, however—and on all sides. Twenty-one percent of respondents, importantly, believe a past blunder regarding housing is preventing them from moving on today. Forty-one percent of renter respondents wish they had bought a home, while 33 percent of homeowner respondents wish they had bought a bigger home.

Regrets appear to be fueled by uninformed decisions—in fact, 15 percent of homeowner respondents and 14 percent of renter respondents wish they had more information prior to choosing the home they did. Regrets seem tied to timing, as well: 84 percent of respondents who moved into their current home before or in 2012 were happy they did not buy a home, compared to 57 percent of those who moved into their current home after 2012.

A shocking 71 percent of those aged 18 to 34, in addition, harbor regret about the home-buying process, or their home in general—a sign there is an opportunity for further education—compared to 28 percent of those aged 65 and older. Those aged 18 to 34, however, hold the most positive perceptions of homeownership of all the generations.

The survey also uncovered a link between income and regret, with 50 percent of households earning $ 100,000 or more yearly having regrets, compared to 44 percent of households overall and 40 percent of households earning less than $ 50,000 yearly. For those with annual incomes of $ 100,000 or more, not buying a bigger home is the most common regret, followed by not making a larger down payment.

Remorse, overall, is largely related to financial missteps, and reflected in current views on housing. Sixty-two percent of respondents believe affordability has gone down since 2012, and 26 percent believe it has gone down considerably. Careful attention to the numbers, according to the survey, will be key to avoiding future mistakes.

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Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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On Low Inventory: From Challenge Comes Opportunity

Jul 5, 2017 by

Low inventory is the foremost issue in the housing market, with no let-up in the impossible demand for the few reasonably-priced homes available for sale. Supply shortages, according to at least one constituent, are now the No. 1 barrier of entry for homebuyers.

Fifty-eight percent of mortgage professionals recently surveyed by the National Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB) cited low inventory as the biggest hurdle for homebuyers today, compared to the far-flung 18.5 percent that pointed to the down payment, as well as 7 percent that reported credit, as an obstacle. Supply is especially challenged in California and Texas, with 73 percent of mortgage professionals in California and 58 percent of mortgage professionals in Texas saying limited listings are the primary impediment to home-buying in their state.

Other members of the industry have made similar observations. REALTORS® surveyed in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Member Profile attributed transactions lost to “difficulty finding the right property” and “housing affordability,” while 62 percent of real estate brokers surveyed in RISMedia’s 2017 Power Broker Report believe scarce supply is currently their most pressing problem.

The inventory dilemma has overtaken concerns about mortgage lending standards, which, though to some are still too strict, have relaxed since the early, strong-armed days post-recession. In fact, according to a recent survey by Fannie Mae, more lenders have taken steps to open up access to credit since the start of 2017, and more plan to continue to do so in the future.

Coming up with enough money for a down payment has become less of a factor, according to the NAMB survey, but remains significantly tied to affordability, which is not only shrinking, but also shuttering dreams of owning a home—a mismatch in sentiment between homebuyers and the professionals that serve them. Tellingly, 70 percent of renters recently surveyed by Zillow are most concerned about saving for a down payment, not the lack of supply.

The discrepancy suggests a knowledge gap that both mortgage professionals and REALTORS® can fill. The industry’s emphatic perspective on inventory, as well, is a chance to inform—to remind buyers of the value of a professional, especially when faced with fast-moving supply.

Undeniably, there are few homes out there—but there are also many opportunities. How will you use today’s environment to your advantage?

Sources: Fannie Mae, National Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB)

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

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Millennials Patient, Thrifty when It Comes to Homeownership

Jan 11, 2017 by

Though millennials perceive homeownership as a vital component to the American Dream, they are also accepting of the realities of owning a first home, according to a new survey by Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Eighty-five percent of the first-time millennial homeowners surveyed view homeownership as a sound investment, and many are practical when it comes to home-buying and -renovating.

“These first-time millennial homeowners are focused on building equity, not debt,” says Jill Waage, editorial director of Digital Content and Products at Better Homes & Gardens. “They are strong believers in being able to afford their dreams as they achieve them and not over-stretch themselves.”

Only 50 percent of those surveyed are willing to spend top dollar to get exactly the features and quality they want in a home; just 36 percent are willing to take out a loan in order to do so. First-time millennial homeowners prefer, instead, to complete do-it-yourself projects around the house, or wait until they can afford to make improvements—in fact, 90 percent of those surveyed are “very” or “extremely” interested in learning about home improvement. Fifty percent of those surveyed report that at move-in, their current home’s conditions required some degree or repair or remodel.

The do-it-yourself projects at the top of their list, according to the survey, are installing light fixtures and tile and painting walls.

First-time millennial homeowners maintain a realistic outlook for their future homes, as well: their wish list includes a mid-sized home (approximately 2,000 square feet) with a renovated kitchen and bathroom(s) and deck or patio space.

“Millennials and millennial ‘firsts’ [first-time homeowners] are paving their own paths in homeownership based on their own budgets, timeline and needs,” says Waage. “These ‘firsts’ are replacing big-budget homes and expensive renovations with patience, frugalness and practicality.”

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

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Paradise Comes with High Closing Costs

Aug 9, 2016 by

Hawaii has the highest mortgage closing costs in the country and Pennsylvania has the lowest, according to a new report.

Based on a $ 200,000 loan, Hawaii’s closing costs averaged out to $ 2,655 while Pennsylvania’s closing costs were $ 1,837. The national average is $ 2,128.

New York has the second-highest closing costs ($ 2,560), followed by North Carolina ($ 2,409), Delaware ($ 2,358), South Carolina ($ 2,322), and Connecticut ($ 2,313).

Aside from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin also has low closing costs ($ 1,863), as well as Kentucky ($ 1,874), South Dakota ($ 1,904), Oklahoma ($ 1,911), and Missouri ($ 1,926).

“Thanks to the new and improved mortgage disclosures that the CFPB introduced last October, closing cost estimates have become more accurate because they mandate that lenders include all costs ahead of time,” says Holden Lewis,’s senior mortgage analyst. “This is great for consumers who can now comparison shop with more confidence.”

Bankrate surveyed up to 10 lenders in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in June 2016. Researchers obtained online loan estimates for a $ 200,000 mortgage to buy a single-family home with a 20 percent down payment. Costs include fees charged by lenders, as well as third-party fees for services such as appraisals. The survey excludes discount points, taxes, title fees, property insurance, association fees, interest and other prepaid items.

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