Get new listings emailed daily! SIGN UP LOGIN

Home Ownership

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Agents | 31 Posts
Beaufort | 19 Posts
Bluffton | 1 Posts
Commercial | 1 Posts
Finance | 42 Posts
GOLDEN ISLES | 1 Posts
Holiday | 3 Posts
Home Decor | 22 Posts
Home Ownership | 70 Posts
Home Selling | 35 Posts
Office Culture | 1 Posts
Real Estate | 93 Posts
Savannah | 7 Posts
Sellers | 6 Posts
South Carolina | 2 Posts
The Islands | 1 Posts
Tips and Tricks | 39 Posts
Uncategorized | 141 Posts
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
8

What Are the Best Options for Today's First-Time Homebuyers?

First Time Homebuyers Looking at Home with Agent

If you're looking to buy your first home, you're likely balancing several factors. Because both mortgage rates and home prices have risen this year, it costs more to buy a home than it did even just a few months ago. But that doesn't mean you have to put your plans on hold.

If you partner with a trusted real estate advisor and hone your strategy, you can navigate today's market and find the home you're looking for. Here are two tips to help you get started.

Work with a Professional To Prioritize Your Wish List

If you're having trouble finding a home in your budget that checks all the boxes, it may be worth taking another look at your lists of what you want and what you really need. According to the latest First-Time Homebuyer Metro Affordability Report from NerdWallet, your wish list can have as much impact on your search as your finances:

"Your budget isn't all that you need to be concerned about; your wish list and desired location may carry just as much weight."

It's all about prioritization. If you're serious about purchasing your first home soon, be flexible in what you're looking for to open up your pool of options. Partner with a local real estate professional to better understand what's available in today's market and reprioritize your wish list. Remember, making a concession now doesn't mean you'll never have everything on your list. After you've moved in, you can always add certain features to make the home your own.

Increase Your Search Radius To Consider More Locations

Some areas may have more homes within your target price range than others, but it may require you to be flexible on your location. For example, if you're a remote worker, you may be able to expand your search radius. As Fannie Mae explains:

". . . continued remote work flexibility is likely giving many the ability to live farther away in more affordable areas."

The decision to search in places with a lower cost of living could help you find a home that fits your budget and checks the most boxes off your wish list.

Bottom Line

If you're serious about purchasing your first home this year, revisiting your wish list and desired location can help. Let's connect to explore all the options in our local market – and beyond – so you can achieve your homeownership dreams.

June
2

How Homeownership Impacts You

New Homeowners

June is National Homeownership Month, and it's the perfect time to reflect on how impactful owning a home can truly be. When you purchase a house, it becomes more than just a space you occupy. It's your stake in the community, an investment, and a place you can put your stamp on.

If you're thinking about buying a home this year, here are some of the benefits you'll experience when you do.

The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership

Because it's a place that's uniquely yours, owning a home can give you a sense of pride and happiness in several ways.

Your Home Can Reflect Your Tastes and Personality

Investopedia puts it like this:

"One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world."

That knowledge can lead to a powerful, emotional connection to the place where you live. But so can the realization that your home will grow with you. Because it's yours, you have the freedom to make updates to it as your needs and tastes change. As Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst for HousingWire, says:

"The psychology is that this is yours and you're going to make it as good as possible because you're in for a long time, . . . "

And that can create a greater sense of ownership, pride, and connection with your home and your community.

It Can Enhance Your Neighborhood and Civic Engagement

Homeownership can lead you to get even more involved with your local area. After all, you're putting your roots down in a location and will want to do what you can to help improve it, much like your home. In a recent report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

"Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates and [sic] obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community."

The Financial Benefits of Homeownership

When you choose to become a homeowner, you're making a financial decision as well. That's because your home is also an investment.

It Can Help You Feel Financially Stable

Homeownership is truly one of the best ways to improve your long-term financial position. Not only will you have a predictable monthly housing expense that can benefit your budget in the short term, but you'll also gain equity as your home appreciates in value and you make your monthly mortgage payment. As Freddie Mac says:

"Building equity through your monthly principal payments and appreciation is a critical part of homeownership that can help you create financial stability."

It Can Grow Your Wealth

Because of your growing equity, you can build your net worth as a homeowner. And when you compare the difference in net worth between a renter and a homeowner, it's clear that owning a home truly offers a great way to build your long-term financial position.

According to the latest data from NAR, the median household net worth of a homeowner is roughly $300,000, while the median net worth of renters is only about $8,000. That means a homeowner's net worth is nearly 40 times that of a renter.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is truly a way to find greater satisfaction and happiness and to build financial freedom. If National Homeownership Month has you dreaming about purchasing a home, then let's connect to begin the process today.

May
31

Why Summer Is a Great Time To Buy a Vacation Home

Buying a Vacation Home in the Summer

You may be someone who looks forward to summer each year because it gives you an opportunity to rest, unwind, and enjoy more quality time with your loved ones. Now that summer is just around the corner, it's worthwhile to start thinking about your plans and where you want to spend your vacations this year. Here are a few reasons a vacation home could be right for you.

Why You May Want To Consider a Vacation Home Today

Over the past two years, a lot has changed. You may be one of many people who now work from home and have added flexibility in where you live. You may also be someone who delayed trips for personal or health reasons. If either is true for you, there could be a unique opportunity to use the flexibility that comes with remote work or the money saved while not traveling to invest in your future by buying a vacation home.

Bankrate explains why a second home, or a vacation home, may be something worth considering:

"For those who are able, buying a second home is suddenly more appealing, as remote working became the norm for many professionals during the pandemic. Why not work from the place where you like to vacation — the place where you want to live?

If you don't work remotely, a vacation home could still be at the top of your wish list if you have a favorite getaway spot that you visit often. It beats staying in a tiny hotel room or worrying about rental rates each time you want to take a trip."

How a Professional Can Help You Find the Right One

So, if you're looking for an oasis, you may be able to make it a second home rather than just the destination for a trip. If you could see yourself soaking up the sun in a vacation home, you may want to start your search. Summer is a popular time to buy vacation homes. By beginning the process now, you could get ahead of the competition.

The first step is working with a local real estate advisor who can help you find a home in your desired location. A professional has the knowledge and resources to help you understand the market, what homes are available and at what price points, and more. They can also walk you through all the perks of owning a second home and how it can benefit you.

A recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), mentions some of the top reasons buyers today are looking into purchasing a second, or a vacation, home:

"According to Google's data, the top reasons that homeowners cited for purchasing a second home were to diversify their investments, earn money renting, and use as a vacation home."

If any of the reasons covered here resonate with you, connect with a real estate professional to learn more. They can give you expert advice based on what you need, your goals, and what you're hoping to get out of your second home.

Bottom Line

Owning a vacation home is an investment in your future and your lifestyle. If this is one of your goals this year, you still have time to buy and enjoy spending the summer in your vacation home. When you're ready to get started, let's connect.

May
18

How Homeownership Can Bring You Joy

Happy People in Home

If you're trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home, you're probably weighing a few different factors. The financial benefits of homeownership might be one of the reasons you want to make a purchase if you're a renter, but the decision can also be motivated by having a place that's uniquely your own.

If you want to express yourself by upgrading and customizing your living space but are feeling held back by your rental agreement, it might be time to consider the perks of owning your home.

A Little Change Can Bring Lots of Joy

There's a significant level of pride that comes from owning a home. That's because it's a space that truly belongs to you.

A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:

"There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area."

The report also breaks down just how much each of these projects can enhance your emotional attachment to your home, even leading you to want to spend even more time in the space (see graph below):

Customization Can Bring You Happiness

And while many of the items NAR highlights are larger tasks, some, like painting rooms, are much smaller. Even those quicker projects can still bring you a greater sense of joy and accomplishment. Not to mention when you make upgrades in your home, you could be increasing its value which also gives your net worth a boost if you invest your time and effort wisely.

You're Free To Update Your Home to Your Heart's Content

These types of updates can result in additional happiness when you complete them, but there's another reason you can feel good as a homeowner. In most situations, you're free to renovate or update the interior of your home without needing additional permission. But as Business Insider points out, renters may not have the same freedom:

"Your landlord won't always approve changes when you rent. But you have the power to update the home when you're the owner. (Just make sure any big changes are approved by your homeowner's association, if necessary.)"

If you do make changes as a renter, there's a good chance you'll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out. That's one major benefit of owning your own home. Unless there are specific homeowner's association requirements, you typically won't have to worry about the changes you can and can't make.

Bottom Line

Deciding whether to rent or buy is a personal decision. The financial benefits are critical but don't overlook the emotional impact homeownership can have. Let's connect to discuss all the benefits you can enjoy when you purchase your own home.

April
27

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort

The Dream of Homeownership

If you're in the market to buy a home this season, stick with it. Homebuyers face challenges in any market, and today's is no exception. But if you persevere, your decision to purchase a home will be worth the effort in the end. In fact, a recent survey from Bankrate shows homeownership is so powerful that:

"Nearly three in four homeowners say they would still buy their current home if they had it to do [sic] all over again."

That means the results – owning a home and the benefits that come with it – outweigh the effort needed to achieve their goal. If you're a homebuyer, let that provide you with the confidence to know the work you're putting in today will pay off for years to come. Here are a few reasons to stick with your search and focus on the outcome.

Homeownership Contributes Significantly to Your Financial Well-Being

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists several motivations to consider if you're thinking about buying a home. One of the top financial reasons is the equity you build. As NAR says:

"Money paid for rent is money that you'll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity . . . Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan."

Your equity is a powerful tool you can leverage in a number of ways. And with recent home price appreciation, homeowners are seeing record levels of equity today. That may be one reason why so many people view owning a home as a great investment and a top indicator of financial well-being. As the survey from Bankrate mentioned above shows:

". . . Americans place a higher value on homeownership than on any other indicator of economic stability, . . ."

Owning a home ranks above other major accomplishments like retirement, having a successful career, and getting a college degree. That indicates just how impactful the financial benefits of homeownership truly are.

The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Home Are Powerful

Of course, homeownership is more than an investment. In their list of top reasons to buy a home, NAR also highlights some of the powerful, non-financial aspects of homeownership. Among them is the opportunity to customize your home to reflect your personality and needs. As they say:

"The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle."

Another benefit homeowners enjoy is the stability it provides. Homeowners typically stay put longer than renters. According to NAR, when you remain in one place longer than a few years, you can grow closer to your community. And that can enhance your sense of pride and lead to better relationships.

What Does That Mean for You?

The benefits of homeownership are powerful, as Leslie Rouda Smith, President of NAR, says:

"From building personal wealth and fostering communities, to strengthening social stability and driving the national economy, the value of homeownership is indisputable."

Even if you face challenges in today's market, the payoff when you succeed and purchase a home will be worth it.

Bottom Line

If you're planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. Let's connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.

April
18

Is It Time To Buy a Smaller Home?

Couple Considering Downsizing

Life events can have a major impact on what you need from your home, and retirement is one of the biggest changes many of us face. This period of your life can mean doing more of the things you enjoy, like traveling, visiting with loved ones, or taking on new hobbies. But what does that mean for your home?

If you're looking for ways to focus more on the important things in your life, the answer could be downsizing. A recent article from The Balance talks about why it could be a great option, saying:

"There are many reasons to buy a smaller home—or to downsize from your present home—but sometimes, the idea that "less is more" is what propels homeowners to buy a smaller home."

You Can Find the Right Home for Your Needs

The 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides more information on why people of retirement age choose to move. It shows the need for a smaller home, the desire to be closer to loved ones, and retirement itself as three of the top reasons homebuyers over the age of 55 make a move.

If you're in this group, changing priorities may be top of mind for you today, and that could be driving your decision to downsize. After all, as your lifestyle changes, what you need in your home likely changes, too.

Plus, as The Balance notes, moving into a smaller home can open your schedule up even more. When you downsize, you can spend less time maintaining your home and more time with the people you love or exploring newfound hobbies. That's a recipe that can lead to less stress and increased happiness.

Your Equity Can Make a Big Impact When You Downsize

Home equity plays a big role when you sell your existing house and move. It could be a great tool to use to help you downsize. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained about $55,300 in equity over the past 12 months. Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how important price appreciation and equity gains are for existing homeowners:

"Home prices rose 18% during 2021 in the CoreLogic Home Price Index, the largest annual gain recorded in its 45-year history, generating a big increase in home equity wealth, . . . For low- and moderate-income homeowners, home equity has historically been a major source of wealth."

As home prices rise, your equity does, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize because of the record levels of home price appreciation over the past year. Those equity gains could allow you to make a larger down payment on your next home. And putting more money down can lead to a smaller monthly mortgage payment, which can give you greater financial freedom. It can also be a significant help in navigating today's competitive housing market, since offering more money up front could help your offer stand out.

Whatever your homeownership goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can help you to find the best option for your situation. They'll help you sell your current home and guide you as you buy your next one and enter this new phase of life.

Bottom Line

If you've recently retired or plan to soon, your needs are likely changing. That means now may be the perfect time to downsize. Let's connect so we can work together to find a home that matches your situation.

April
11

Using Your Tax Refund To Achieve Your Homeownership Goals This Year

Using Your Tax Refund Towards Homeownership Goals

If you're buying or selling a home this year, you're likely saving up for a variety of expenses. For buyers, that might include things like your down payment and closing costs. And for sellers, you're probably working on a bit of spring cleaning and maintenance to spruce up your house before you list it.

Either way, any money you get back from your taxes can help you achieve your goals. Using a tax refund is a common tactic for buyers and sellers. SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $2,897 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:

Average 2021 Tax Refund by State

If you're getting a refund this year, here are a few tips to help with your home purchase or sale this season.

How Buyers Can Use Their Tax Refund

According to American Financing, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. A few include:

  • Growing your down payment fund – If you haven't started saving for your down payment, let your tax refund kick off the process. And if you have a fund already, the money you get back could put you closer to your goal.
  • Paying for your home inspection – Your home inspection can save you a lot of headaches down the road by helping you determine the condition of the house. As a buyer, you'll typically be responsible for paying for your inspection, and it's definitely worth the investment.
  • Saving for closing costs  Closing costs are additional expenses you'll need to pay once it's time to close. They average anywhere between 2-5% of the purchase price of your home.

This list is a great start, but it isn't exhaustive of all the costs you may encounter as you set out on your homebuying journey. The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate professional to make sure you understand what's to come in the process.

How Sellers Can Use Their Tax Refund

If you own a home and are planning to sell this spring, your tax refund can help you make sure your home is ready to list. Here are a few ways current homeowners can put their tax refund to good use:

  • Making small upgrades  NerdWallet provides a list of great ways to use your tax refund, including tackling small projects or boosting your curb appeal to help your home stand out.
  • Making repairs – If there's anything in your house that needs to be fixed, American Financing notes that completing repairs is another great use of that money.
  • Buying your next home – Whether you're selling to move up or downsize, you can use your tax refund to help pay for any costs on the purchase of your next home.

Of course, it's important to talk with your trusted real estate advisor before taking on any projects. They'll make sure you can focus on areas that'll help you receive the best possible price when you sell.

Bottom Line

Funding your home purchase or sale can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Your tax refund can help you reach your goals. Let's connect to discuss how you can start on your journey.

April
4

Balancing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer Today

Beautiful Home

Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

"Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent."

So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you'll craft your list. After all, you don't want to fall in love with a home that's too far out of reach.

Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here's a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn't have these features, it won't work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you'd love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren't dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it's a contender (examples: a second home office, garage, etc.).
  • Dream State– This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren't features you'll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it's a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you've created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They'll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small task, but it can save you time and money. It's also one of the keys to being successful in today's competitive market. Let's connect so we can work together to find a home that fits your wants and needs.

March
28

A Key To Building Wealth Is Homeownership

Beautiful Homes

The link between financial security and homeownership is especially important today as inflation rises.  But many people may not realize just how much owning a home contributes to your overall net worth. As Leslie Rouda Smith, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

"Homeownership is rewarding in so many ways and can serve as a vital component in achieving financial stability."

Here are just a few reasons why, if you're looking to increase your financial stability, homeownership is a worthwhile goal.

Owning a Home Is a Building Block for Financial Success

A recent NAR report details several homeownership trends and statistics, including the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters. It finds:

". . . the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000 while that of a renter's was $8,000 in 2021."

To put that into perspective, the average homeowner's net worth is roughly 40 times that of a renter (see visual below):

The Difference in Net Worth: Owner Vs. Renter

The results from this report show that owning a home is a key piece to the puzzle when building your overall net worth.

Equity Gains Can Substantially Boost a Homeowner's Net Worth

The net worth gap between owners and renters exists in large part because homeowners build equity. As a homeowner, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month.

In other words, when you own your home, you have the benefit of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account. And when you sell, any equity you've built up comes back to you. As a renter, you'll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.

To sum it up, NAR says it simply:

"Homeownership has always been an important way to build wealth."

Bottom Line

The gap between a homeowner's net worth and a renter's shows how truly foundational homeownership is to wealth-building. If you're ready to start on your journey to homeownership, let's connect today.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder