Wednesday, July 28, 2021


4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures
With forbearance plans about to come to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are four reasons why that won’t happen. 

1. There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time 
After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their home to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank. As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the overwhelming fear was the pandemic would decimate the housing industry in a similar way. Many experts projected 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. Only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 3.5%. As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 1,863,000. That’s definitely a large number, but nowhere near 9.3 million.

2. Most of the 1.86M in forbearance have enough equity to sell their home 
Of the 1.86 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 87% have at least 10% equity in their homes. The 10% equity number is important because it enables homeowners to sell their houses and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.

The remaining 13% might not all have the option to sell, so if the entire 13% of the 1.86M homes went into foreclosure, that would total 241,800 mortgages. 

To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers of the three years leading up to the pandemic: 
2017: 314,220 
2018: 279,040 
2019: 277,520 

The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures coming out of the housing crash 15 years ago. The number does, however, draw a similar comparison to the three years prior to the pandemic. 

3. The current market can absorb any listings coming to the market 
When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, there was an excess supply of homes for sale. The situation is exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was a 9-month supply of listings for sale. Today, that number stands at less than 3 months of inventory on the market. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains when addressing potential foreclosures emerging from the forbearance program:
“Any foreclosure increases will likely be quickly absorbed by the market. It will not lead to any price declines.”
4. Those in power will do whatever is necessary to prevent a wave of foreclosures Just last Friday, the White House released a fact sheet explaining how homeowners with government-backed mortgages will be given further options to enable them to keep their homes when exiting forbearance. Here are two examples mentioned in the release:
“For homeowners who can resume their pre-pandemic monthly mortgage payment and where agencies have the authority, agencies will continue requiring mortgage servicers to offer options that allow borrowers to move missed payments to the end of the mortgage at no additional cost to the borrower.”
“The new steps the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are announcing will aim to provide homeowners with a roughly 25% reduction in borrowers’ monthly principal and interest (P&I) payments to ensure they can afford to remain in their homes and build equity long-term. This brings options for homeowners with mortgages backed by HUD, USDA, and VA closer in alignment with options for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
When evaluating the four reasons above, it’s clear there won’t be a flood of foreclosures coming to the market as the forbearance program winds down. 

Bottom Line As Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman & Associates, notes:
“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Right Home for Right Now

Finding a New Home for Your Next Stage of Life Imagine the first place you lived as a young adult. Now imagine trying to fit your life today into that space. Not pretty, right? For most of us, our housing needs are cyclical.1 A newly independent adult can find freedom and flexibility in even a tiny apartment. That same space, to a growing family, would feel stifling. For empty nesters, a large home with several unused bedrooms can become impractical to heat and clean. It’s no surprise that life transitions often trigger a home purchase. While your home-buying journey may not look like your neighbor’s or friend’s, broad trends can help you understand what to keep in mind as you house hunt. No one wants to regret their home purchase, and taking the time now to think about exactly what you need can save a lot of heartache later. The Newly Married or Partnered Couple The financial and legal commitment of marriage has provided a springboard to homeownership for centuries, though these days more couples are buying homes without exchanging rings. In the last few decades, changing demographics have shifted the median age of first marriage and buying a first home into the late 20s and early 30s, planting most newly married or partnered buyers firmly in the millennial generation.2,3 But no matter your age, there are some key factors that you should consider as you enter into your first home purchase together. Affordability is Key There’s no doubt about it—with high student loan debt and two recessions in the rearview mirror, many millennials feel that the deck is stacked against them when it comes to homeownership. And it’s not just millennials—Americans of all ages are facing both financial challenges and a tough housing market. But stepping onto the property ladder can be more doable than many realize, especially in today’s low mortgage rate environment. While many buyers are holding out for their dream home, embracing the concept of a starter home can open a lot of doors.4 In fact, that’s the route that most first-time homebuyers take—the average home purchase for a 20-something is about 1,600 square feet. While the average size increases to around 1,900 square feet for buyers in their 30s, it’s not until buyers reach their 40s that the average size passes 2,000 square feet.5 Chosen carefully, a starter home can be a great investment as well as a launchpad for your life together. If you focus on buying a home you can afford now with strong potential for appreciation, you can build equity alongside your savings, positioning you to trade up to a larger home in the future if your needs change.6 Taking Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates Mortgage rates are historically low, making now the perfect time to purchase your first home together. A lower interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, which can significantly increase the quality of home you can get for your money. But what if both halves of a couple don’t have good credit? You may still have options. First, boosting a credit score can be easier than you think—simply paying your credit cards down below 30% of your limit can go a long way. But if that’s not enough to boost your score, you might consider taking out the mortgage in only the better-scoring partner’s name. The downside is that applying for a mortgage with only one income will reduce your qualification amount. And if you take that route, make sure you understand the legal and financial implications for both parties should the relationship end. Commute and Lifestyle Considerations Whether you’ve lived in a rental together for years or are sharing a home for the first time, you know that living together involves some compromises. But there are certain home features that can make life easier in the future if you identify them now. The number of bathrooms, availability of closet space, and even things like kitchen layout can make a big difference in your day-to-day life and relationship. Your home’s location will also have a significant impact on your quality of life, so consider it carefully. What will commuting look like for each of you? And if you have different interests or hobbies—say, museums vs. hiking—you’ll need to find a community that meets both your needs. Need some help identifying the ideal location that fits within your budget? We can match you with some great neighborhoods that offer the perfect mix of amenities and affordability. The Growing Family Having kids changes things—fast. With a couple of rowdy preteens and maybe some pets in the mix, that 1,600 square foot home that felt palatial to two adults suddenly becomes a lot more cramped. Whether you’ve just had your first child or are getting to the point where your kids can’t comfortably share a bedroom any longer, there’s plenty to consider when you’re ready to size up to a home that will fit your growing family. The Importance of School Districts For many parents, the desire to give their kids the best education—especially once they are in middle and high school— surpasses even their desire for more breathing room. In fact, 53% of buyers with children under 18 say that school districts are a major factor in their home buying decisions.7 Of course, better funded (and often higher ranking) schools correspond to higher home prices. However, when push comes to shove, many buyers with kids prefer to sacrifice a bit of space to find a home in their desired location. But when you’re moving to a new community, it can be tough to figure out what the local schools are actually like—and online ratings leave a lot to be desired. That’s why talking to a local real estate agent can be a gamechanger. We don’t just work in this community; we know it inside and out. We’ll be happy to share our first-hand knowledge of the local schools and which neighborhoods are most welcoming to families. Lifestyle Considerations For many families, living space is a key priority. Once you have teenagers who want space to hang out with their friends, a finished basement or a rec room can be a huge bonus (and can help you protect some quieter living space for yourself). A good layout can also make family life a lot easier. For example, an open plan is invaluable if you want to cook dinner while keeping an eye on your young kids playing in the living room. And if you think that you might expand your family further in the future, be sure that the home you purchase has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate that comfortably. Functionality Try to think about how each room will fit into your day-to-day. Are you anticipating keeping the house stocked to feed hungry teenagers? A pantry might rise to the top of the list. Dreading the loads of laundry that come with both infants and older kids (especially if they play sports)? The task can be much more bearable in a well-designed laundry room. Imagine a typical day or week of chores in the house to identify which features will have the biggest impact. Chances are, you won’t find every nice-to-have in one home, which is why identifying the must-haves can be such a boon to the decision-making process. We can help you assess your options and give you a sense of what is realistic within your budget. The Empty Nesters When we talk about empty nesters, we usually think about downsizing. With kids out of the house, extra bedrooms and living space can quickly become more trouble than they’re worth. While the average buyer under 55 trades up to a larger home, buyers over 55 are more likely to purchase a smaller or similarly sized but less expensive home. Even in the highest age groups, the majority of home purchases fall in the single-family category. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, by the time buyers reach their 70s, the median home size drops to 1,750 square feet.5 But there’s plenty for empty nesters to think about besides square footage. Maintenance and Livability What factors are driving your decision to move? Identifying those early in the process can help you narrow down your search. For example, do you want to have space for a garden, or would you prefer to avoid dealing with lawn care altogether? What about home maintenance? In many cases, a newer home will require less maintenance than an older one and a smaller one will take less time to clean. You may also want to consider townhomes, condos, or other living situations that don’t require quite as much upkeep. Lifestyle Considerations Many empty nesters have retired or are nearing retirement age. This could be your chance to finally pursue hobbies and passions that were just too hard to squeeze into a 9-5. If you’re ready to move, consider how you’d like to spend your days and seek out a home that will help make that dream a reality. For some, that might mean living near a golf course or a beach. For others, being able to walk downtown for a nice dinner out is the priority. And with more time to spend as you wish, proximity to a supportive community of friends and family is priceless. Ability to Age in Place Let’s face it—we can’t escape aging. If you’re looking for a home to retire in, accessibility should be front-of-mind.8 This may mean a single-story home or simply having adequate spaces on the first floor to rearrange as needed. While buying a home that you plan to renovate from the start is a viable option, being forced into renovations (because of the realities of aging) a few years down the road could seriously dig into your nest egg. Location matters, too—if your family will be providing support, are they close by? Can you easily reach necessities like grocery stores and healthcare? While it’s tempting to put it out of our minds, a few careful considerations now can make staying in your home long-term much more feasible. Finding the Right Home for Right Now One thing is for sure—life never stands still. And your housing needs won’t, either. In the United States, the median duration of homeownership hovers around 13 years.9 That means many of us will cycle through a few very different homes as we move through different life stages. At each milestone, a careful assessment of your housing options will ensure that you are well-positioned to embrace all the changes to come. Whatever stage you’re embarking on next, we’re here to help. Our insight into local neighborhoods, prices, and housing stock will help you hone in on exactly where you want to live and what kind of home is right for you. We’ve worked with home buyers in every stage of life, so we know exactly what questions you need to ask. Buying a home—whether it’s your first or your fifth—is a big decision, but we’re here to support you every step of the way. Sources: 1. Freddie Mac - 2. PRB - 3. Experian -,by%20real%20estate%20marketplace%20Zillow 4. Nerdwallet - 5. NAR 2020 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report - 6. Investopedia - 7. NAR 2019 Moving With Kids 8. Kaiser Health News - 9. National Association of Realtors -,varies%20from%20area%20to%20area

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Let's get ready to look at homes!

When most people think about buying a home, they think about neighborhoods, paint colors, and wish lists, not paycheck stubs and closing costs. However, in reality you’ll probably find that mortgage application and approval is one of the more time and energy-consuming aspects of the purchase process. Do a little work upfront & save a lot of time & trouble later on. Check (and Repair) Your Credit When you first start thinking about buying a home, you’ll want to do a deep dive into your credit. Check with each of the big three reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) since each may have different information. If there are errors on your reports, reach out with corrections and required information. If your credit is just not great, there are ways to improve it. Here’s are a few suggestions: • If you don’t have much credit, look for ways to build your credit record. Seek out a starter credit card, make regular, small charges and pay them off immediately. Look for programs that report your current rent and utility payments to the credit bureaus so that you can use your on-time payment record to build your credit score. • If you have damaged credit, work on paying down existing debt and making on-time payments going forward. If you pay your rent and utilities on time, seek out reporting programs to allow you to use your positive payment history to rebuild your credit score. • As you pay off credit cards and loans, don’t close out the accounts. Leave them open and at a zero balance, or use them for occasional, small purchases that you then pay off immediately. Part of your credit score comes from the length of time that you have had your accounts, so closing out an older account can have a negative impact.
Organize Your Financial Records One of the biggest things you’ll have to do during the process of applying for your home loan is obtaining and providing a wide variety of financial records to submit to underwriting. Start gathering these now. When you apply, you’ll need the following: • Tax returns (generally two-year’s worth) • Pay stubs, 1099s, W-2s or other proof of income • Bank statements and other asset statements • Photo ID If you are using gift funds from a family member to finance your down payment, closing costs, or reserves, you will need to present a letter from that donor. The lender may request additional documentation, as well. Be sure to find out what donors and uses are acceptable for your particular situation. Find a Lender You will need to find a lender to work with on your mortgage application. I have some excellent mortgage lenders who will help you with every step of the way. If you prefer to go it aloe, you may find someone at your local bank or credit union, through an online lending platform, through a referral from a friend, or through your real estate professional. Make sure that you feel comfortable working with and communicating with your chosen lender so that you will feel confident throughout the process. Consider a Variety of Loan Options Don’t feel locked into a conventional, 30-year loan with a 20 percent down payment. While that scenario works for some buyers, it doesn’t work for everyone. Work with your lender to determine what types of financing options you qualify for and what types of financing will help you fulfill your goals. For example, if you are open to a larger monthly payment, you may find that a 15-year loan makes more sense than a 30-year loan. Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Get Pre-Approved It will be important for you to work with your lender to obtain pre-approval before you begin looking for your home. This will allow you to better determine your budget and timeline. In addition, pre-approval helps you to make a stronger offer once you find the right home for you. Determine Your Budget Once you know how much you’ll potentially be approved for and what your interest rate will be, you can create a budget based on your down payment and your desired monthly payment amount. Remember, just because you qualify for a large amount doesn’t mean that you will want to spend that much. Let your comfort level determine your budget. ** ASK ME FOR MY EXCLUSIVE BUYER ESTIMATE SHEET TO GET AN IDEA OF WHAT YOUR COSTS WILL BE** Don’t Forget the Extras Remember, you don’t just pay the monthly mortgage and required down payment. There is an earnest money deposit (EMD) that you will need to have available as well as reserve funds that you will need to show. You’ll have closing costs, insurance costs, and other expenses associated with moving and setting yourself up in your new home. Try to keep an eye on the big picture when making your decisions during this time. Avoid Major Purchases and Changes to Your Credit You may want a brand new car to park in your new driveway or a houseful of new furniture and decorative items. While it would be fun to have those things in place on moving day, you’ll probably need to hold off until after the closing. That’s because changes to your credit report or to the amount of debt you carry can have major negative consequences on your mortgage underwriting and approval process.
Expect the Unexpected A lot of things can happen on the journey to homeownership. You may find that your budget is different than you thought or that you have to make some compromises along the way. You may also find that some parts of the process you dreaded turn out to be easier than those things you thought were no-brainers. Stay open and let's chat. I'll help you make the Smart Decision.

Monday, April 26, 2021

10 Tips for Navigating the New Home Construction Process

Before you jump into buying a newly constructed home, it’s important to understand the process and determine how to navigate it successfully. Here you will find the ten best tips for making sure that your new home purchase provides everything you’re hoping for while staying on time and on budget. 1. Determine your priorities at the start It’s important for you to decide why you’re looking for new construction. Are you simply trying to overcome low inventory in your chosen market? Are you more interested in the personalization opportunities available with new construction? Is your budget the most important consideration or are you flexible enough to incorporate additional features that you find appealing? Know what matters most to you and think twice before you depart from your plan.  Not sure on the best route to take -- let's chat -- I'll give you the pros & cons of all home types
2. Optimize the location and lot When you’re able to choose your location and the style of your new construction home, it pays to think through the placement and orientation of your home on the lot. How will the front elevation relate to the street and to the neighbors? What is the view from the owner’s suite? The kitchen window? Where will the outdoor spaces be and how will they relate to the property’s best features? Think through curb appeal and livability when determining how your home will be situated. 3. Do your homework All builders are not created equal, so it pays to check out the builder you’re thinking of using.  Talk to previous clients and look at online reviews. Try to determine what parts of the process have been most difficult for others, and think ahead to how you can avoid problems before they occur.
4. Explore builder-provided discounts and incentives In some cases, your builder may provide special offers if you use their in-house lender or if you close by a certain time. They may have spec homes that have fallen through during the contract period and which they would be willing to let go in exchange for a quick sale. Determine whether these specials are cost-effective in your case and whether they make sense for your wish list. Don’t jump in just because there’s a discount available—check out other options first, and crunch the numbers for each option before you decide. 5. Be careful when it comes to extras and upgrades The biggest budget-buster for most new construction projects is the list of optional features and upgrades along with adjustments and changes during the building process. While you will no doubt want to take advantage of the opportunity to add some upgrades during the process, be smart about which ones you choose. Here are a list of times when it makes sense to choose the builder upgrade option: -     When the upgrade involves a structural change that would be easier and cheaper to implement during the building process rather than after. -     When the upgrade is something that you’ll particularly care about and enjoy using every day, like those in a kitchen or owner’s suite. -     When the upgrade will have a significant long-term impact on the home’s resale value or energy efficiency. -     When the cost through the builder is close to that charged by a contractor. Once you’ve made a decision, try to stick to it if at all possible. Change orders can significantly raise the cost of construction and contribute to delays.
6. Don’t be afraid to negotiate Many people falsely believe that there is no room for negotiation when working with a builder, but in fact, there are many areas open for negotiation other than overall price. You may be able to negotiate a reduced interest rate or reduced closing costs through an affiliated lender or title company, as well as a selection of upgrades and optional features. I will help you choose the best options for your budget and timeline. 7. Ensure everything is in writing When you’re talking through your options with your builder or their representative, you may talk about options and prices in an informal way. Just remember that an assurance means nothing if it’s not in writing. Keep track of everything you discuss, and have an agent ensure that they are all properly noted in your contract.  And, sometimes there are clauses that allow deviation from the agreement. I will review the entire contract with you to be sure you know & understand all the details
8. Don’t forgo the home inspection Just because it’s new construction doesn’t mean that you don’t need an inspection. Accidents happen and errors occur.  And, do you when/if to have an inspection?  I have a great home inspector & will guide you through this process.   9. Keep track of guarantees and warranties There will be guarantees and warranties for the building itself as well as its systems, appliances, and other features. You’ll need to keep track of all of these, along with their specific terms and requirements, in order to make sure that you don’t accidentally void them or wait too long to take advantage of the repairs and benefits they provide.
10. Expect the unexpected New construction has many great benefits but it can also have its share of problems. Be prepared for delays, mistakes, and other issues to crop up, and have a plan in place to address them. If everything is smooth sailing, great! If not, you’ll feel better knowing that you and a real estate agent have already thought through a number of eventualities, helping to ensure that you’re ready for anything. WHY GO IT ALONE?  I have helped many happy folks with their new construction.  I've seen it all.  Let me help you make all the smart decisions.  PS -- My service, advice & knowledge is 100% FREE! Let's chat today.

Friday, February 26, 2021


2021 Housing Market Forecast and Predictions

2021 National Housing Market Forecast and Predictions: Back to Normal

To say 2020 was a year of surprises is an extreme understatement. What started off as a bright year for the housing market and the economy was soon derailed by a global pandemic and severe economic recession. As detailed by my colleague, George Ratiu, the economic rebound has been sharp, but is by no means complete and created distinct winners and losers among sectors in the economy. Read more detailed thoughts on the overall economic context and outlook, here.

One of the big winners has been the housing market, which saw home sales and prices hit decade-plus highs following decade lows in the span of just a few months. We expect housing’s winning streak to continue in 2021 as seasonal trends normalize and some of the frenzied momentum fades thanks to fresh affordability challenges. Below you’ll find our forecast and housing market predictions on key trends that will shape the year ahead.

Here is the link to the rest of the very detailed & interesting article on

To answer everyone's question, "When is the best time to buy or sell a home"?  My answer is always, "When you are ready".  I've been a professional Realtor for years and have seen all the ups and downs.  I know how to navigate any market and will help you make the smart decision.

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