Why It Makes Sense To Move Before Spring | MyKCM
Spring is usually the busiest season in the housing market. Many buyers wait until then to make their move, believing it’s the best time to find a home. However, that isn’t always the case when you factor in the competition you could face with other buyers at that time of year. If you’re ready to buy a home, here’s why it makes sense to move before the spring market picks up.
Spring Should Bring a Wave of Buyers to the Market
In most years, the housing market goes through predictable seasonal trends in activity. Winter is typically a quiet point in the year, while spring sees a surge of buyers begin their search. And experts project that this year will be no exception.
Right now, buyer demand is low due to a combination of normal seasonal trends and a reaction to last year’s rise in mortgage rates. But rates have started to come down since last November, which has more and more potential buyers planning to jump into the market. That means right now is a sweet spot if you’re in an excellent position to buy before more buyers reappear. Affordability is beginning to improve, but demand is still low — for now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), shares:
“. . . expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”
If you’re ready to buy a home, right now is the best time to do so before your competition grows and more buyers enter the market.
Today’s Sellers Are Motivated
Low demand from buyers often means sellers are more motivated to work with you, and that can set you up to buy a home on your terms. In fact, sellers have been more willing to negotiate this winter because there are fewer buyers in the market. According to a recent article from Forbes:
“. . . sellers gave concessions to buyers in 41.9% of home sales in the fourth quarter of last year.”
But keep in mind, the advantages buyers have this winter won’t last forever. The competition you face could be greater if you wait until spring to make a move, and increased buyer demand means sellers will have less motivation to negotiate with you. Be sure to work with a trusted real estate professional to learn what you can expect in your local market right now.
If you’re in a good position to make a move, it may make sense to move before spring. Working with your team of expert real estate advisors is the best way to learn about the current market and what it means for you. Let’s connect today to determine the best plan to achieve your home-buying goals.
Spring is usually the busiest season in the housing market. Many
buyers wait until then to make their move, believing it’s the best time
to find a home. However, that isn’t always the case when you factor in
the competition you could face with other buyers at that time of year.
If you’re ready to buy a home, here’s why it makes sense to move before
the spring market picks up.
In most years, the housing market goes through predictable seasonal
trends in activity. Winter is typically a quiet point in the year, while
spring sees a surge of buyers begin their search. And experts project
that this year will be no exception.
Right now, buyer demand is low due to a combination of normal
seasonal trends and a reaction to last year’s rise in mortgage rates.
But rates have started to come down since last November, which has more
and more potential buyers planning to jump into the market. That means
right now is a sweet spot if you’re in a good position to buy, before
more buyers reappear. Affordability is beginning to improve, but demand
is still low — for now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), shares:
“. . . expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”
If you’re ready to buy a home, right now is the best time to do so
before your competition grows and more buyers enter the market.
Low demand from buyers often means sellers are more motivated to work
with you, and that can set you up to buy a home on your terms. In fact,
sellers have been more willing to negotiate this winter because there are fewer buyers in the market. According to a recent article from Forbes:
“. . . sellers gave concessions to buyers in 41.9% of home sales in the fourth quarter of last year.”
But keep in mind, the advantages buyers have this winter won’t last
forever. The competition you face could be greater if you wait until
spring to make a move, and increased buyer demand means sellers will have less motivation to negotiate with you. Be sure to work with a trusted real estate professional to learn what you can expect in your local market right now.
If you’re in a good position to make a move, it may make sense to
move before spring. Working with your team of expert real estate
advisors is the best way to learn about the current market and what it
means for you. Let’s connect today to determine the best plan to achieve
your homebuying goals.
It’s been nearly five years since the last summer Olympics, so people are understandably ready for some action, aren't you?! Whether you’re more of a spectator or participant, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the summer Olympics in style—especially now that gatherings have resumed.
So dust off your TV screen and backyard games, and get ready to celebrate the summer Olympics in new and creative ways!
Party Like It’s 2021
Chances are you’ve missed Super Bowl gatherings, awards season parties, and even family get-togethers over the past 16 months. Celebrating the summer Olympics can be the perfect way to bring everyone back together!
This sort of gathering should depend on the comfort levels of you and your guests, but there are many ways to come together and celebrate the summer Olympics either in person or virtually. Rearrange furniture if you need a little more distance this year, or hold the watch party in the front or backyard, depending on your resources.
You can also create pre-fixed snacks and meals if you’re not ready for communal dining just yet.
Create Your Own Olympic ‘Sports’
This can go one of two ways. You can either create a modified version of the Olympic sport you’re watching—say, rhythmic gymnastics or volleyball—or you can engage in a whole new set of games. Water balloon tossing? Why not? Hot dog eating contest? Is it even summer without one?
The sky’s the limit on what sorts of competitions you and your guests can come up with. Just be sure to keep safety in mind (fencing and diving can sound like a good idea . . . until you’re a few libations in).
You can always raise the stakes by creating “medals” for the top-three finishers. Chocolate wrapped in shiny tinfoil or handmade crowns work great. No time to make the crowns? Get the kids in on the action! You can set up a whole craft table where the younger ones can assemble the winning medals.
Oh, and storage crates make fabulous podiums!
Take it to Trivia
Looking for a little less action but an equal level of enthusiasm as you celebrate the summer Olympics? Not a problem! Trivia’s got you covered. You can create categories like Olympic cities, sporting events, memorable moments, Olympic rules/facts, and even life after the Olympics for some of the more famous athletes.
If you feel like answering specific questions may be too tough, you can always turn trivia into a round of True or False. For example, instead of “name the Olympian that clinched the gold for the USA women’s gymnastics team at the Atlanta games in 1996,” you could simply ask “true or false, the USA women’s gymnastics team beat Russia for the gold at the 1996 Atlanta games during a final vault performance.”
The same model could be used for games like “Rule or Not a Rule” where you ask people to identify whether certain statements are actual Olympic rules, or “Sport or Not a Sport,” where you have to identify whether certain sports are played at the Olympics or not.
Like the more physical games, you can still make teams, hand out medals, and even do the podium routine.
Watch the More Obscure Sports
Many people tune into the summer Olympics to see popular events like women’s gymnastics, diving, and track and field. But if you’re looking for a truly unique way to celebrate the summer Olympics, then look no further than the oft-overlooked sports.
Host a game-watching party for the lesser-known, but equally entertaining, Olympic sports of handball, table tennis, racewalking, or trampoline. You may not be able to pair these events with trivia contests, but they certainly warrant lively commentary and all the cheering and jeering the Olympics are known for.
Plus, many of these events can be played at home or easily modified.
Get a Pool Going
You’ve heard of Fantasy Football, but what about Fantasy Olympics? Same concept, different athletes and sports (though football is among them)! You can also randomly draw countries and see who comes out ahead at the end of every event or at the culmination of the Olympics.
Like a Super Bowl pool, you can also make wagers based on which countries or athletes will place. In true Vegas style, you can take this to the extreme, placing bets on who will get the first perfect score, whether the lead swimmer will beat a personal record or an Olympic record, or even which Olympian will shed the most tears on the podium.
These pools don’t need to be for money, either. Bragging rights, cooking duties, and even cleaning patrol make great wagers. Plus, let’s face it. How much would you pay to get out of having to clean up after an Olympics-themed party? Yeah, that wager’s worth its weight in gold.
Try New Cuisine
Here’s a new way to celebrate the summer Olympics: indulge in cuisine from the various participating countries. You can assign countries to guests or have them choose out of a hat ahead of time for a watch-party potluck. They can then bring a dish with them from their assigned country.
You can assign guests to certain categories, such as appetizers, entrees, or desserts. The cuisine can either be representative of the various countries participating in the Olympics overall, or it can be limited to the countries expected to medal in the specific events you’ll be watching.
Either way, this is a great chance to try something new and learn more about the culture and traditions of a foreign country. Be sure to create little signs near each dish that detail the country of origin, name of the dish, and even a little bit about the history or traditions surrounding this dish.
Kids can get in on the fun too by reading a paragraph about this particular country, its legacy within the Olympics, or the cuisine itself.
This summer is sure to be a memorable one as we come back together after so much time apart. A great way to ramp up the fun is to celebrate the summer Olympics with your friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
We hope that whatever you do this summer, it’s met with fun, joy, and laughter. Stay safe and enjoy this wonderful season.
And if your summer involves a renovation, refinance, or move, we’re here when you need us. Unless speed walking is on. In which case, we’ll get back to you shortly . . .
Budgets are like diets…they’re difficult to stick to! Much like diets, however, putting in the hard work and short-term sacrifices can yield amazing results. Every penny counts when you’re working toward a home purchase – and that doesn’t stop once your budget is created.
Here’s how to keep your budget on track to buy a home this year:
Accountability is Key
You already know how to create a budget. Now, you just have to see it through. Plenty of credit cards can help you track your monthly expenses, but a spreadsheet can produce the same results. Take the budget plan you’ve already crafted and make line items for expenses like housing, entertainment, travel, etc. Then “audit” yourself at the end of every month by reviewing your spending across all of your cash purchases and debit and credit cards. Since you know you’re on a budget, your spending shouldn’t be too off base from your goals…as long as you’re spending consciously. If it is, you know you have some work to do for the next month.
Checks and Balances
Okay, so you went over budget last month on your entertainment expenses thanks to a few birthday parties and a couldn’t-miss concert. No problem. Don’t beat yourself up! The beauty of saving for a home over an entire year is that you have some wiggle room for mistakes – and we all make mistakes. To make up for it, you can scale back your spending in that category, or in multiple discretionary spending categories, the following month to even things out. If that feels like too big of a hit to absorb all at once, you could also divvy the “deduction” over multiple months, or even decrease the amount of spending in that category for the remaining 12 months to balance out that splurge.
Cash is King
An easy way to ensure you stick to your budget as you save for your first home is to use all cash, all the time. Your non-negotiable expenses, such as bills and rent, can remain on your preferred payment methods, as these expenses don’t tend to fluctuate much. However, fees associated with dining out, shopping, entertainment and any other items that distract from your long-term goal of owning a home should be paid in cash. You can do this one of two ways. You can create an all-cash envelope that has the entire discretionary monthly fund that you will utilize for all your spending, or you can create separate envelopes for your various spending categories. Once those envelopes are empty, that’s it for the month. You can make this easier by purposefully leaving your credit and debit cards at home, save for one, in case of emergencies. And, no, a double chocolate chip Frappuccino does not count as an “emergency.”
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
You may know how to budget, but does your partner? This is a critical detail that is often overlooked when more than one person is involved in a large purchase like a home. We’re so used to dividing our household roles and responsibilities that it’s easy to say “sticking to the budget is your job.” This happens for a number of reasons. Oftentimes one party is better with money, more financially savvy, maybe makes more money or is simply the more responsible one. All that is irrelevant here. Creating a budget, sticking to it and buying a home is a team operation. This savings plan will fail if everyone involved isn’t equally invested in seeing it through and making the sacrifices. We’re not saying your partner is willingly sabotaging your goal of homeownership, but without “the talk” and ensure you’re both on the same page it’s all too easy to assume this task is the other’s responsibility. Here, too, is where accountability is key. Check-in early and often. Ask how they’re doing with their new budget and whether they’re finding any aspects of it challenging, then share the same from your perspective. Owning a home is a huge responsibility, especially for two people. You’ll want to make sure you’re entering this exciting phase as a cohesive unit that’s working toward a greater goal.
Prepare for the Future by Predicting the Future
This isn’t as meta as it sounds. Preparing for the future simply means anticipating costs ahead of time, much like you did when you initially created your budget. Meal prepping on a Sunday night can result in big savings, which means you now have extra dough for that co-worker’s going-away party next Friday. Looking at the calendar and seeing your mom’s birthday is two weeks away can let you know now that you’ll need to pull back some of your spendings to ensure your mom will have a nice day and you’ll stay within your budget. We won’t lie. Sometimes preparing for the future means saying “no” or “not right now” to invitations you otherwise wouldn’t have thought twice about. It’s all part of the process, but if you have a keen sense of your social calendar and spending allotment ahead of time, it makes this whole process a lot easier.
The American Dream of owning your own home is completely achievable. With a little accountability, collaboration and creativity, anyone can save for their first home!
Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time for many to start budgeting to purchase a home this year. Here are a few tips to get your budget on track and get you on the road to home ownership.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult with some advance planning and getting your finances in order is not only a good exercise to set you up for success but also a good way to get the details needed to communicate with your loan officer so they can help make your home buying dreams a reality.
Summer is here, the pressure from the hectic end-of-the-year school activities has passed, and the school buses have made their way to the corporation yard for the next few months. While this is a welcomed change for many overscheduled families, this can also be a time where many of us start wondering how to maximize the time we have over summer break. Keeping the kids occupied yet still having time to enjoy relaxation and recreation together can be challenging, especially if you want to do it without spending a fortune on lavish vacations!
Here are some budget-friendly activities that everyone in the family can enjoy while getting to know your community and all it has to offer!
1. Have a summer kick-off party with the neighbors
This has become one of our favorite events every year to reconnect with our neighbors after months of hibernation! Bring a grill or two out in the cul-de-sac (or someone’s driveway if you don’t live in a court), and have everyone contribute a side to share or something to throw on the grill. The kids can dust off their bikes and create beautiful masterpieces with sidewalk chalk while the adults mingle and enjoy some great conversation.
2. Camp in your backyard
Yep, that’s right. Pitch a tent, get the sleeping bags out, build a fire in the firepit and have fun roughing it for a night! Make smores and roast hot dogs, then wrap up the night with stories by flashlight or hide and seek in the dark. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even cook up some bacon and eggs over the fire in the morning for breakfast.
3. Check out the local farmers' markets
Many communities have markets on the weekends, but a few also have them one evening a week. This is a great way to get the family interested and excited about trying out new foods (seriously, have they ever eaten a dragon fruit? Give it a try!). You are likely to find a wide variety of food options and live music to enjoy, and often you’ll even find a few booths set up with free kid’s activities. Bring some camp chairs or throw a blanket down and enjoy a great picnic together while you support local business and agriculture!
4. Enjoy scavenger hunts?
Take it up a notch and go geocaching as a family! Geocaching is a great opportunity to head out and explore the great outdoors together while searching for hidden treasure. You can download an app and follow clues to lead you to secret “caches” planted by others that have gone before you! Remember to bring something to add to the cache as well! It is the ultimate treasure hunt and practically free!
5. Go bowling!
Bowling has to be one of the most underrated of summer activities. It’s air-conditioned (save it for a super hot day!), fun for all ages, inexpensive, and most of the larger bowling alleys have terrific food! There are often summer bowling packages for the whole family, some even offer specific hours where kids bowl for free. Invite some friends and make a day of it… the kids will entertain each other and give the adults a chance to socialize a bit as well.
6. Plan a neighborhood bike parade
Send invites to the neighbors two weeks or so in advance and have the kids decorate their bikes or scooters and ride out around the block while the parents cheer them on! You can use sidewalk chalk to create a “track” and offer arrows for directions to keep everyone on course, and even turn it into a potluck style block party
7. Take a hike
Great hikes for all ages in your area can easily be found using Google. Put on your walking shoes and pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and maybe even a beach towel, depending on where you’ll end up. Once you hit the trail it’s often nice to take your time - even burn up several hours of your day and provide a grand adventure! Be sure to bring a container or bag to collect treasures along the way, and don’t forget your phone in case of trail emergencies (and you’ll have a camera built in for capturing the magic)!
8. Volunteer at a local food bank or nonprofit
We often get so buried in everyday life with school and activities and birthdays and travel that we don’t take the time to come together as a family and work towards a common goal. Every parent wants to teach the importance of giving to their children, but it’s often hard to think of ways to accomplish this. Volunteering at a local food bank is an eye-opening experience that can help show children (and us too!) about gratefulness, empathy, and kindness. Summer is a great time to do this because many of the food banks are running low on supplies and volunteers.
Contributed by Guest Blogger Laura Clavero, Regional Processing Manager
When you’re shopping for a home, choosing the neighborhood that works for you is just as important – possibly more important – as choosing the right home. Knowing what you’re looking for is half the battle, and knowing where to look to get the information you need can help make your decision easier.
There are many factors in choosing the right neighborhood for you, but if you take the time and do your homework you can find the right fit for you and your family. Start by nailing down an ideal profile, then think about what you want in a home. Write down your vision of home and share it with your real estate professional so that the homes you preview during your house hunting meet your criteria.
You’ve heard about credit scores and know that they are considered important, but why should you care about your credit score? Your credit score is looked at for multiple reasons - sometimes by employers, landlords, your bank, but also anytime you apply for a loan, including a home loan. Understanding credit scores and how they’re calculated will help you check into and improve your own score so you can have better credit when you are ready to purchase or refinance your home.
The most common credit score used is called your “FICO™” score, standing for Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO™ scores were first used with lenders in 1989. This score can affect how much a lender will loan you and at what interest rate. The score is calculated using information contained in your credit reports with each of the three main reporting agencies.
While the exact formula is unknown, we do know that FICO™ scores are calculated by considering five different categories. The importance of each varies as well as the factors within every category:
Payment History - Weight: 35%
Have you paid past credit accounts on time? How many accounts have late or missed payments?
Amounts Owed - Weight: 30%
How much do you owe on your credit accounts and how many accounts do you have? How much of your total available credit are you currently using?
Length of Credit History - Weight: 15%
How long have your credit accounts been established? How long has it been since you last used some of those accounts?
Credit Mix in Use - Weight: 10%
What types of credit accounts do you have? How many different types of credit accounts are you using?
New Credit - Weight: 10%
How many new accounts or recent inquiries do you have? How long has it been since you opened a new account?
These are general guidelines of what is considered and can vary from person to person according to what information is contained in their credit profile.
Base FICO™ scores range from 300-850. Lenders have different definitions of what range of scores are considered “good” or what scores will receive better programs and rates. In general though, this range represents what the different scores mean:
800 +: Exceptional
740-799: Very Good
< 580 : Poor
Even if your credit score is not in the good or higher range, there are still plenty of loan programs that you may qualify for. Talk to APM about our minimum credit scores for certain loans and other specialty loan programs that may be a fit for your situation.
Once you understand how your credit score is calculated, there are things you can do to improve your score. Here are some easy ways to make a positive impact:
Keep your credit score healthy and ready for that upcoming home purchase by avoiding anything that negatively impacts your credit score.
APM has you covered with all you need to know about your credit score and getting ready to start your homeownership journey. Check out the following for further information about credit scores:
The holiday season is fast approaching, with big meals, family get-togethers, bright lights and holiday gifting. As a parent, it’s often difficult to get children past their own wish list, and focused on the “giving” part of the holidays.
Here are a few ideas that you, your children, or the entire family can do to help make the season brighter for others - and teach a lesson or two in the art of doing something good.
Encouraging the entire family to get involved makes for a merrier and brighter season for you, as well as the recipient of your kindness. It just feels good to do good things! Have small children talk about the good feeling they have in their tummies and hearts so they recognize how giving can fulfill them even more than getting!
Once you’ve decided to sell, you’ll likely need to do some reorganizing, cleaning and staging to set your home off in the very best light. Holiday decor can be beautiful, yet also highly personal, so it’s necessary to keep things neutral and allow for room for the buyer to envision their own holiday gatherings (without tripping over the 35 snowmen on your front stoop).Here are a few tips on staging during the holiday season:
Stage first. Talk to your REALTOR® about how best to stage your home. Removing clutter and personal effects is a start but take a long look at your furnishings and artwork to ensure your home shows at its very best. Take extra furniture to storage (don’t store in your garage - buyers will see it there and wonder why it’s not in the house) and keep clear sight lines and pathways for an open and airy feeling.Decorate with restraint. Having a Christmas tree or a menorah on display is fine, as long as it doesn’t take over the entire room. Small, tasteful decorations sprinkled throughout the house give the buyer a sense of what they could/would do during the holidays if they lived there.Keep it cozy. Subtle touches that create a holiday vibe work wonders. A bowl of cinnamon-scented pine cones in the center of your table. A wreath hung over the fireplace gives a sense of warmth and a wonderful evergreen smell to complete the festive feeling.Don’t lose your palette. Be sure your holiday decor compliments your current home’s look and feel. If your living room is painted a beautiful blue, perhaps skipping the red garland and go with a more winter wonderland feel with silver bells and snowflakes. If your living room is gray or taupe, going with some cranberry garland or earth-toned trimmings will work nicely.Don’t forget the outdoors. Keep away from large blow-up displays or lights that pulse to the beat of Jingle Bells. Stick with simple lights and a small display on your porch this year.At the end of the day, you want to show your home off in its best light. That means allowing space for the buyer to see the walls and floor without dodging huge holiday displays. Let this holiday season be your perfect season for buying or selling your next home.
You can get into a home faster. A Doctor Loan takes into account a new practice, or even an employment contract, during the qualification process. Instead of waiting for your new clinic to be up and running, and having 2 years of bank statements and tax returns, the underwriter takes your employment contract into account when calculating your income. Most Doctor Loan guidelines require that the new position be contractually in place within 60 days of closing, so be sure to have your contract reviewed as early as possible in the loan process.
You can avoid costly PMI. Doctor Loans typically do not require PMI for down payments under 20%, like conventional loans do. Since PMI is expensive - and not tax deductible - this helps keep payments lower, freeing up cash to pay off other debts (such as student loans).
It’s easier to qualify. Typically, when you qualify for a mortgage, all payments (deferred or not) are included in the debt-to-income ratio. With a Doctor Loan, deferred student loan payments do not get wrapped into the overall debt ratios. For medical professionals early in their careers, this can make all the difference in getting the home they need, while they’re still building their practice.
Getting in over your head. Because you can qualify without using your student loan debt against you, it can make the overall payments difficult to manage if your practice takes awhile to get off the ground. Additionally, those student loan payments will start up eventually, and will eat away at what disposable income you may have.
Buying a home before you’re ready. Just because it’s faster, doesn’t always mean it’s better. If you’re a dentist relocating for your “dream job,” buying a home to finish the picture seems like a good idea. It’s not so great if you ultimately decide your job isn’t so dreamy - or you don’t like the new city you’ve moved to. If you decide to relocate again, you’ll likely have to sell your home to buy a new one wherever you land.
At American Pacific Mortgage, we have a full suite of expanded access programs for many types of borrowers. Our Doctor Loan Program has loan amounts as high as $2,000,000 in some cases, allowing for a purchase previously out of range. Looking to refinance an existing home loan? We’ve got you covered - this program has guidelines for both purchase and refinance transactions.
Our priority is creating experiences that matter - for all of our home buyers and home owners. It’s our way of saying thank you.
*with proof of 12 months deferment or forbearance.