5 Best-Kept Home-Buying Secrets

Nov 8, 2018 by

Buying a home is probably one of the most exciting life events there is. It can also be stressful. But, if you start your adventure armed with some good advice, chances are those stressful moments will be few and far between.

These five helpful tips may make your home-buying experience one of the most cherished memories you have. After all, your home is where many of the best memories will be made. These tips might help you find your new home:

Get nosy in the neighbourhood. You’ll want to scope out the area in which your prospective home is located. Talk to some neighbours and get a handle on what they like about living in the area. We Canadians are a friendly bunch and it’s highly likely these folks will be more than happy to offer up some information. Check the area for schools, grocery stores, parks and other places that you feel are important in a well-rounded neighbourhood.

Don’t date it. Buy it. Yes, it’s hard to keep emotions out of the home-buying equation, but you really need to try. Falling in love at first sight with a home may cloud your financial judgement. Trust your instincts, not your emotions. You can always change the paint colour of a home after you’ve bought it. Buying a home should be a wise investment and one that is made with more logic, than emotion.

Be aware of all the costs. Owning a home means more than just paying the mortgage. When you’re house hunting, you should ask questions about the utility bills, taxes, cost of upkeep and other things that will impact your bank account.  Always make sure you have enough stowed away for unforeseen events.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Contrary to popular belief, you may do well buying a home that needs some work. Its value may appreciate more than the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. That huge house with an expensive price tag may only appeal to a certain segment of the population upon resale and you don’t want to limit the number of people who may want to buy your home if you ever decide to sell.

Let go of the “best time” idea. There is no ideal time to buy a home, so let go of any market-timing ideas you might have. Real estate is a cyclical business and if you try to wait for a right time, you may miss out on your dream home.

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Home-Buying Millennials Face Fresh Set of Struggles

May 13, 2018 by

Across ages, buyers are contending with a frenzied market—but for millennials, the challenges are different than in generations past, according to a new report by Trulia.

An astounding 98 percent of home-buying millennials surveyed for the report are being kept out of the market, with barriers including credit (cited by 26 percent of millennials), a down payment (31 percent) and prices (40 percent).

Given the hurdles, millennials are compromising on their wants: 84 percent, for example, would give up a feature in their home so that they could buy in their desired location, the report reveals. (The No. 1 do-without feature? A garage, followed by a kitchen that has been updated.) By comparison, just 25 percent of boomer buyers and 35 percent of Generation X buyers would do the same. Strikingly, 24 percent of millennials would accept a higher crime rate in exchange for their ideal property.

The majority of millennials (89 percent), similarly, would give up a feature of their neighborhood so that they could buy their desired home, like activities (e.g., block parties), good schools and proximity to restaurants and shops. Only 15 percent of boomers and 22 percent of Gen Xers would follow suit.

“For millennials, the dream of homeownership is alive and well, but with prices going up and inventory continuing to shrink, this new generation of buyers are facing more obstacles than any other demographic,” says Cheryl Young, senior economist at Trulia. “With tight budgets and fewer choices on the market, most millennials are forced to make trade-offs, and are more willing than other generations to give up home and neighborhood features in order to find their ideal home.”

Aside from the concessions, many millennials are having to put off their search, the report shows. More than three-quarters (79 percent) have delayed their plans to purchase—a higher rate than both boomers (48 percent) and Generation Xers (64 percent). Across generations, however, the obstacles overlap: a not-so-distant 32 percent of Gen Xers and 36 percent of millennials delayed due to the down payment, and an almost-identical 26 percent of Gen Xers and 27 percent of millennials held off due to prices.

Beyond costs, millennials are postponing a purchase for fear of “not having a stable job”—a byproduct of coming up in the recession. Debt, however, is less of a roadblock; just 9 percent of millennials say student loans are stopping them.

Despite the hurdles, 86 percent of millennials are planning to purchase, and, of those, 35 percent are aiming to do so in the next year, and 57 percent are hoping to in the next two years, according to the report.

“In markets where the economy and job growth are thriving, we may see some of these financial challenges start to dissipate as millennials mature into their careers,” Young says. “If anything, millennials can hold out hope that the encouraging housing starts we saw in 2017 can lead to some relief in the starter home segment.”

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DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne 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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Foreign Home-Buying in U.S. Bounds to Over $150 Billion

Jul 18, 2017 by

Foreign home-buying in the U.S. leaped 49 percent to $ 153 billion in the last year, a record high in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, recently released for 2017. The boost came as activity from Canada exploded to $ 19 billion, with buyers from China, India, Mexico and the UK also contributing considerable volume.


“The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest.”

All told, foreign buyers purchased 284,455 U.S. homes from 2016 to 2017, with a sizable share of transactions taking place in California, Florida and Texas. Activity on the part of resident foreigners and non-resident foreigners both expanded—the former up 32 percent to $ 78.1 billion, and the latter up 72 percent to $ 74.9 billion.

“Although non-resident foreign purchases climbed over the past year, it appears much of the activity occurred during the second half of 2016,” Yun says. “REALTORS® in some markets are reporting that the effect of tighter regulations on capital outflows in China and weaker currencies in Canada and the UK have somewhat cooled non-resident foreign buyer interest in early 2017.”

The median sales price of homes bought by foreign buyers was $ 302,290, according to the Profile. Forty-four percent made all-cash purchases, and 10 percent made $ 1 million-plus purchases.

Buyers from China comprised $ 31.7 billion of the total volume between 2016 and 2017, followed by Canada, the UK at $ 9.5 billion, Mexico at $ 9.3 billion and India at $ 7.8 billion. Home-buying activity originating from Canada was concentrated in Florida, while activity originating from China was focused in California and activity originating from Mexico occurred in Texas.

“Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation,” says Yun. “Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future.”

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Home-Buying Confidence Springs Back

May 8, 2017 by

Confidence in home-buying is springing back, with more buyers optimistic about their ability to move off the fence and into the market, according to the recently released Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) for April.

The HPSI bounced back 2.2 percentage points to 86.7 last month, up from 84.5 in March. Those surveyed for the Index who reported it being “a good time to buy a house” climbed 5 percentage points to 35 percent—but those who reported it being “a good time to sell” shifted 5 percentage points in the opposite direction, down to 26 percent.

“The Home Purchase Sentiment Index returned to its longer-term tread line after reclaiming ground lost last month,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Historically strong inflation-adjusted house price gains are tempering consumer sentiment, whereas consumer optimism regarding the ease of getting a mortgage reached a survey high.”

Those surveyed who believe home prices will rise inched up one percentage point to 45 percent. More of those surveyed believe mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months, ticking up three percentage points to -57 percent.

On a wider level, just 13 percent of those surveyed reported that their earnings are “significantly higher” than one year ago. In many housing markets, incomes have yet to catch up to home prices.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed, however, are “not concerned about losing their job”—a sense of security that can be a prerequisite for home-buying or -selling.

“On balance, housing continues on a gradual track,” Duncan says.

Source: Fannie Mae

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Millennials Put Home-Buying on Hold After Last Year’s Rate Hike

Apr 16, 2017 by

Will more interest rate hikes this year turn millennials off to buying a home?

A sizable share of millennials recently surveyed by TransUnion decided to put off buying a home after learning of the interest rate hike in 2016, with 42 percent reporting that the raise in rate influenced their plans.

The key interest rate, which was increased one-quarter percentage point in December and again in March, indirectly leads the movement of mortgage rates. Mortgage rates, though still at historic lows, soared at the end of 2016, giving first-time homebuyers—mostly millennials—pause about their spring home search, according to a January report by®.

“Higher rates make qualifying for a mortgage and finding affordable inventory more challenging,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of, of the report.

Homebuyers’ apprehension subsided by February, however, when the majority of those surveyed by Zillow reported planning to move ahead with purchasing, even if their monthly mortgage payments grow as a result of rising rates.

“As rates rise this year, first-time buyers and those looking to buy in expensive markets where affordability is already an issue will feel the pinch of higher rates on their budget,” says Erin Lantz, vice president of Mortgages for Zillow Group, of the survey. “For most borrowers, there is quite a bit of head room for rates to rise before home-buying becomes unaffordable.”

Demand has only picked up now that the spring home-buying and -selling season is underway—and with first-time homebuyers facing severe competition due to few affordable homes, mortgage rates, for now, may be less of a concern. In fact, 69 percent of those in the TransUnion survey are more focused on how they will pay for home improvements, and 67 percent are more focused on how they will pay for home maintenance.

The Federal Reserve has indicated two or three more hikes could occur in 2017.

Source: TransUnion

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