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July
15

Click Below to Read Our Quarterly Market Update 

June
28

Nicki Johnson

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group congratulates Realtor® Nicki Johnson on achieving her Associate Broker License!

Nicki is consistently a top real estate producer in our region, ranking in the Top 3% of the Savannah Area Board of Realtors®. She is a member of the National Association of Realtors®, the Georgia Association of Realtors®, the Savannah Board of Realtors®, Chairman's Gold Circle and the Distinguished Sales Society. She has received the Savannah Women's Council of Realtors Rising Star Award and was featured in the Savannah Real Producers magazine.

"We extend our sincere congratulations to Nicki on this milestone achievement and are excited to see what she accomplishes next," says Bay Street Realty Group Broker, Will Thurman.

Nicki assures the highest level of professional real estate consultation in the greater Savannah area and specializes in representing both buyers and sellers in residential, income-producing, investment, historic, waterfront, and luxury properties. Having spent 17 years in Pharmaceutical Sales, Nicki now utilizes her passion for sales and unmatched customer service experience to further her real estate career. 

June
25

Why an Agent Is Essential When Pricing Your House [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why an Agent Is Essential When Pricing Your House

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to pricing your house, there's a lot to consider. The only way to ensure you price it right is by partnering with a local real estate professional.
  • To find the best price, your agent balances current market demand, the values of homes in your neighborhood, where prices are headed, and your home's condition.
  • Don't pick just any price for your house. If you're ready to sell, let's connect to find the perfect price for your house.
June
24

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

Beautiful Home

If you're following along with the news today, you've heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

"Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981."

With inflation rising, you're likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they're still worthwhile.

If you've been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you're probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here's how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That's true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what's typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

"A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That's certainly not the case if you're renting."

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don't have that same benefit, and you won't be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it's true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That's because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you're ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you've been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you're ready to get started, let's connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you're ready to buy a home.

June
22

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan

Happy Family in Front of Home

Once you've applied for a mortgage to buy a home, there are some key things to keep in mind. While it's exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating, be careful when it comes to making any big purchases. Here are a few things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don't Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn't easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don't Make Any Large Purchases

It's not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don't Co-Sign Loans for Anyone

When you co-sign for a loan, you're making yourself accountable for that loan's success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won't be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don't Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there's consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don't Apply for New Credit

It doesn't matter whether it's a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your mortgage interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don't Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn't true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

In Short, Consult an Expert

To sum it up, be upfront about any changes when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it's best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who's qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

June
21

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year

Home Equity

If you own a home, your net worth likely just got a big boost thanks to rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And today, based on recent home price appreciation, you're building that equity far faster than you may expect – here's how it works.

Because there's an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are on the rise. That means your home is worth more in today's market because it's in high demand. As Patrick Dodd, President and CEO of CoreLogic, explains:

"Price growth is the key ingredient for the creation of home equity wealth. . . . This has led to the largest one-year gain in average home equity wealth for owners. . . ."

Basically, because your home value has likely climbed so much, your equity has increased too. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner's equity has grown by $64,000 over the last 12 months.

While that's the nationwide number, if you want to know what's happening in your area, look at the map below. It breaks down the average year-over-year equity growth for each state using the data from CoreLogic.

Homeowner Equity Gains

The Opportunity Your Rising Home Equity Provides

In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you've been holding off on selling or you're worried about being priced out of your next home because of today's ongoing home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.

Bottom Line

If you're planning to make a move, the equity you've gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let's connect so you can get a professional equity assessment report on your house.

June
20

More Listings Are Coming onto the Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

More Listings Are Coming onto the Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • Worried you won't be able to find your next home after you sell? You should know data from realtor.com shows more listings are coming onto the market each month this year.
  • Having additional options can make the search for your next home easier. But inventory is still low overall, which means your house should still stand out when you sell.
  • If your biggest question is where you'll go if you sell, take this as encouraging news. Let's connect to start the process today.
June
17

5 (Reasonably) Painless Ways to Reduce Living Costs

Calculating Costs of Living

As millions of Americans do their best to cope with the soaring cost of living, money-saving experts suggest some of the least painful ways to cut back on spending, bring in extra cash and strategize to balance the family budget.

  • Stretch the Food Budget – Plan meals ahead based on what's on sale at the supermarket each week. 

    • Make a Meal, Do Double Duty. Last night's roast chicken can become the basis for today's taco dinner and maybe even for tomorrow's chicken salad. 
    • Go Vegetarian at Least One Night Each Week. Hearty vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, anyone? Spinach quiche or cheese-filled manicotti? 
    • Use Coupons. Check Sunday's newspaper. Take advantage of your market's loyalty coupons. Go to coupons.com for a wide variety of printable coupons.
    • Buy Generic. You may be surprised to find little noticeable difference between branded and store-labeled products
  • Pay Off Debt – Monthly payments and rising interest rates eat heavily into available cash. Make every effort possible to pull in your belt and pay off balances in order to save money and free up cash. 

  • Get a Side Hustl– Can you mow lawns? Walk dogs? Write resumes? Bake beautiful breads or cakes? Social media makes it easy to 'advertise' your services, and a little extra income can make a big difference in how far your money stretches each month.

  • Cut Energy Costs – Set the thermostat a few degrees higher or lower and learn to live with indoor temperatures a little warmer or cooler than you'd like. Replace old weatherstripping to block drafts, and close the curtains to block hot sun. It will add up to a difference in your bills.

  • Call an Insurance Broker – If you've had the same auto and/or home insurance policies for a while, ask a broker how much you can save by increasing deductibles, requesting senior, good driver, or other available discounts, or even by switching carriers altogether.

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