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Retiring Soon? Why Moving Might Be the Perfect Next Step

If you’re thinking about retirement or have already retired this year, it’s a good time to consider if your current house is still a good fit for the next chapter in your life.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few things to think about as you decide whether or not to sell and make a move.

How Long You’ve Been in Your Home

From 1985 to 2008, the average length of time homeowners typically stayed in their homes was only six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is rising today, meaning many homeowners are living in their houses even longer (see graph below):

When you live in a home for a significant period of time, it’s natural for you to experience a number of changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

How Much Equity You’ve Gained

Additionally, if you’ve been in your house for more than a few years, you’ve likely built-up significant equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because the longer you’ve been in your house, the more likely it’s grown in value due to home price appreciation. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below):

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by nearly 60%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home since 1991 saw it more than triple in value over that time.

Consider Your Retirement Goals

Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or simply be closer to loved ones, your home equity can be a key to realizing your homeownership goals. NAR shares that for recent home sellers, the primary reason to move was to be closer to loved ones.

Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate agent can work with you to find the best option. They’ll help you sell your current house and guide you through buying the home that’s right for your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

Retirement can bring about major changes in your life, including what you need from your home. Connect with a local real estate agent to explore the available homes in your area.

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Get Ready To Buy a Home by Improving Your Credit Score

As the new year approaches, the idea of buying a home might be on your mind. It’s an exciting goal to set, and it’s never too early to start laying the groundwork. One crucial step to prepare for homeownership is building a solid credit score.

Lenders review your credit to assess your ability to make payments on time, pay back debts, and more. It’s also a factor that helps determine your mortgage rate. An article from CNBC explains:

“When it comes to mortgages, a higher credit score can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. This is because your credit score directly impacts your mortgage rate, which determines the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.”

This means your credit score may feel even more important to your homebuying plans right now since mortgage rates are a key factor in affordability, especially today.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median credit score in the U.S. for those taking out a mortgage is 770. But that doesn’t mean your credit score has to be perfect. An article from Business Insider explains generally how your FICO score range can make an impact:

“. . . you don’t need a perfect credit score to buy a house. . . . Aiming to get your credit score in the ‘Good’ range (670 to 739) would be a great start towards qualifying for a mortgage. But if you’re wanting to qualify for the lowest rates, try to get your score within the ‘Very Good’ range (740 to 799).”

Working with a trusted lender is the best way to get more information on how your credit score could factor into your home loan and the mortgage rate. As FICO says:

“While many lenders use credit scores like FICO Scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders may use to determine your actual interest rates.”

If you’re looking for ways to improve your score, Experian highlights some things you may want to focus on:

  • Your Payment History: Late payments can have a negative impact by dropping your score. Focus on making payments on time and paying any existing late charges quickly.
  • Your Debt Amount (relative to your credit limits): When it comes to your available credit amount, the less you’re using, the better. Focus on keeping this number as low as possible.
  • Credit Applications: If you’re looking to buy something, don’t apply for additional credit. When you apply for new credit, it could result in a hard inquiry on your credit that drops your score.

A lender will help you navigate the process from start to finish, from assessing which range your score falls in to telling you more about the specifics for each loan type.

Bottom Line

As you set your sights on buying a home in the upcoming year, a focus on boosting your credit score could help you get a better mortgage rate when the time comes. If you want to learn more, connect with a trusted lender.

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These Non-Financial Benefits Turn a House into a Happy Home

There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too. Here’s why.

The word home truly means something different to everyone. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones around the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in your favorite chair, the emotional connections we have to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that turn a house into a happy home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re ready to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order once you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like your special place. Go ahead and smile – you’ve earned it.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel refreshed and recharged.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like a large backyard for entertaining or room for a home office) or you simply want to move closer to your loved ones, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-house yoga studio. You can do these things and much more when you own your home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to buy your first home, or you’re ready to move into a different one to meet your changing needs, think about the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, connect with a local real estate advisor.

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Get Your House Ready To Sell This Winter [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • As you get ready to sell your house, there are a few things you should add to your to-do list to make it inviting and boost curb appeal.
  • To name just a couple, it’s a good idea to declutter, take down personal photos and items, touch up any scuffs on the walls, and tidy up your landscaping.
  • Let’s connect so you have advice on what else you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.
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Sell Smarter: Why Working with a Real Estate Agent May Beat Going Solo

If you’re thinking about selling your house on your own, called “For Sale by Owner” or FSBO, there are some important things to consider. Going this route means taking on a lot of responsibilities by yourself – and that can be a bit of a headache.

A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found two of the most difficult tasks for people who sell their house on their own are getting the price right and understanding and performing paperwork.

Here are just a few of the ways an agent helps with those difficult tasks.

Getting the Price Right

Setting the right price for your house is important when you’re trying to sell it. If you’re selling your house on your own, two common issues can happen. For starters, you might ask for too much money (overpricing). Alternatively, you might not ask for enough (underpricing). Either can make it hard to sell your house. According to NerdWallet:

“When selling a home, first impressions matter. Your house’s market debut is your first chance to attract a buyer and it’s important to get the pricing right. If your home is overpriced, you run the risk of buyers not seeing the listing.

 . . . But price your house too low and you could end up leaving some serious money on the table. A bargain-basement price could also turn some buyers away, as they may wonder if there are any underlying problems with the house.”

To avoid these problems, it’s a good idea to team up with a real estate agent. Real estate agents know how to figure out the perfect price because they understand the local housing market. They can use their expertise to set a price that matches what buyers are willing to pay, giving your house the best chance to impress from the start.

Understanding and Performing Paperwork

Selling a house involves a bunch of paperwork and legal documentation that has to be just right. There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow, making it a bit tricky for homeowners to manage everything on their own. Without a pro by your side, you could end up facing liability risks and legal complications.

Real estate agents are experts in all the contracts and paperwork needed for selling a house. They know the rules and can guide you through it all, reducing the chance of mistakes that might lead to legal problems or delays.

So, instead of dealing with the growing pile of documents on your own, team up with an agent who can be your advisor, helping you avoid any legal bumps in the road.

Bottom Line

Selling your house is a big deal, and it can be complicated. Having a real estate agent can make a huge difference with setting the right price and managing all the details, so you can sell confidently. Connect with a local real estate agent to make the process smooth and take the stress off your plate.