Generations of Homeowners

To be a homeowner, or not to be a homeowner – was never the question. Rather, it’s been how to be a homeowner.

According to the Urban Institute’s Millennial Homeownership report, the homeownership rate for millennials is 8 percentage points lower than for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers when they were millennials’ ages. Their report estimates that 3.4 million more people would be homeowners if the rate of ownership kept pace with previous generations.

There are multiple factors that are causing Millennials’ to pause moving forward with homeownership. The report suggests that it takes only a 1% increase in a person’s student loan debt to decrease the likelihood of buying a home.

Millennials are also delaying marriage and renting longer than previous generations. Rent-burdened comes to mind; Millennials are rent-burdened when they’re spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

While there are many hurdles Millennials are having to jump through to become homeowners, remote-work seems to be helping them make the big decision.

Generations are always different – we’ll continue to monitor how the market changes.

For more real estate news and trends, stop by Alliance’s Blog.

New-Home Sales & Inventory

Inventory, inventory, inventory. Real estate is all too familiar with the battle. It’s a long tug-of-war game that continues to play out – where are we currently?

According to the Commerce Department’s latest report, buyers are targeting new-home construction as they search for the home of their dreams in the small pool of current inventory. New-home sales in October were 41.5% higher than they were a year ago.

Inventory has remained a strain at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace. High buyer demand isn’t the problem – it’s finding the home.

Robert Dietz, the National Association of Home Builder’s Chief Economist, explains, “the gap between construction and sales was at an all-time high in early fall. Thus, the NAHB forecast contains an acceleration in single-family starts and some slowing of the pace of growth for new homes sales to allow a catch up. Demand remains strong as home buyers seek out lower density markets as part of the suburban shift.”

New home construction is what many home buyers look to when purchasing a home, since many current homeowners are staying in their homes longer than years prior. At the moment, homebuilders cite ongoing labor and lot shortages as well as rising lumber prices as reasons new-home construction has slowed.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance’s Blog for more.

Title Technology in the Pandemic Age

COVID has increased the urgency of title companies needing digital tools to provide safe transactions for clients. As we’ve seen, technology doesn’t seem to be a problem, but rather – integration.

Volume on Notarizing platforms have increased 600% since April – but many real estate experts in the field believe there is still a long way for full digital adoption.

Tyler Thompson, Second Century Ventures and REACH Managing Partner, explains, “We need better integration from real estate, mortgage to title; remote online notarization is a huge part of that.”

For many in the title industry world, the need for highlighting and focusing on the consumer is something the industry should dedicate towards. Clients need a more streamlined process to secure their real estate goals.

The future is bright – and it looks like the push towards full integration is on everyone’s horizon.

For more real estate and title news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Home Buyers Think of Mom and Dad

The pandemic sure is changing the way we do things – even what type of homes we buy.

Recently, The National Association of Realtors ® released their 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and found that buyers purchasing a home since the start of the pandemic have been more likely to purchase a multigenerational home (about 15% versus 11% before 2020).

Why are buyers wanting to purchase these homes?

The survey found that these homeowners wanted a mutigenerational home for various reasons – caretaking of aging parents, cost savings, wanting to spend more time with aging parents, and even needing extra space for their adult children.

But what exactly is a multigenerational home?

These types of homes are designed to offer extra space for more than two generations living under the same roof. Homes designed to fit multiple generations might be more wheelchair accessible, have dual purposed rooms and extra rooms for everyone involved (usually a living room, a den, and a play room are all included in a multigenerational home). Separate entrances are also a nice touch to ensure that everyone has their own space and privacy.

So, where do you fit in a multigenerational home? Is this something you would be interested in, as a homeowner?

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Factors that Influence Your Home Value

Wondering how an appraiser might value your home? Appraisers have a variety of categories they work through while walking through your home.

There are elements that raise or lower the value of your house – so, what are they?

Location

When you purchased your home, you thought a lot about where it was in relation to work, family or friends, your children’s schools, etc. – but appraisers look at different categories when it comes to the location of your home.

They’re looking at:

  • The quality of schools
  • Employment options
  • Proximity to shopping, entertainment, and recreational centers

Sometimes a home’s location is more important than the size of the house!

Home Size

Speaking of home size – this is still an important factor when it comes to appraising your home’s value.

The value of a home is estimated in price per square foot. If a 3,000 square foot home sold for $300,000, the price per square foot would be $200.

Features

The added elements to your home will also add to its value. Your home’s garage, fireplace, backyard, patio, etc. all can increase the price of your home.

Interior & Exterior

Obviously, what goes inside and outside of your home matters. Appraisers look for high-end materials that buyers are searching for. Think hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, stone or fiber-cement siding, updated roof and plumbing, etc.

Your home is something to build upon – if you’re looking to sell, it’s important that you research and see where your home might land in its value.

COVID Updates the Home

Housing architecture and styles are always fluctuating – but has COVID brought in new updates to the home that are here to stay?

Let’s take a look at some of the new requirements homeowners are needing before they sign on the dotted line.

Meeting Room

Working from home means needing your own space; particularly, space where you can contribute to your online meetings. This space helps both the professional at home, or the student at home, focus and work when they need to.

This means an extra room is likely needed.

Bigger Backyards

Homeowners are desiring bigger and better backyards. The extra yard space can help with keeping COVID guidelines of 6-feet apart while also entertaining! Some homeowners are more willing to forfeit a bigger house to instead have a larger backyard.

Mud Rooms

Think of these as your extra defense against germs. Homeowners are wanting an introductory room that would allow family members and guests to safely wash their hands before entering the main part of the home.

COVID has changed a lot about how we all live our lives, and it looks like the pandemic is continuing to shape how we think about our homes. Will these new features stick long after the pandemic is over?

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog.

Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score

One of the biggest hurdles you will have to jump through when purchasing a home is organizing your finances – and the one that might be most intimidating? Your credit score.

Having a good credit score will improve your responsibility to potential lenders; and if you want the best deal, a strong credit score is best.

Credit scores range, so it’s important to know where you fall. If you’re below a “good” credit score, luckily, there are ways to bring it back up.

Understanding Scores

Here are the scores lenders look at and categorize:

Perfect Credit Score: 850

Excellent Credit Score: 760-849

Good Credit Score: 700 to 759

Fair Score: 650 to 699

Low Score: 649 and below

Lenders generally look for a score of 660 or higher before they consider a mortgage loan.

Improving Your Score

Don’t fret! There are ways to help improve and adjust your credit score.

You can request a free credit report once a year from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian through this website.

Review your credit report for any errors – if there is an error on one of your accounts, you’ll need to refute the error with the bureau by providing documentation. Credit bureaus usually have 30 days to investigate the error.

CUR – Credit Utilization Ratio

This ratio showcases how much you owe compared with the amount of available credit you have. If you have a $10,000 credit limit on your credit card, and you have a balance of $9,000, you’ve utilized 90% of your credit, which drags down your score.

Tackling what you owe is a major step in improving your score. Paying on time, and (if you can) paying more than your minimum balance, can help build up that perfect payment history that you need.

Housing Market to Remain Hot in Winter Season

Usually, winter months are a little slower for real estate. This winter, however, looks like real estate might keep running at full speed.

COVID has changed a lot about how homebuyers shop – with many working and attending school from home, future homeowners are looking to upsize. Working from home also means a better opportunity further away from city limits.

Realtor.com®’s Chief Economist, Danielle Halle, explains, “If [the trend of buyers sticking around the housing market later than we usually do this fall] continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.”

And if that isn’t enough proof for you – 71% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month!

Low inventory combined with record-low mortgage rates will mean for an interesting winter season.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog for more.

Your Real Estate Lineup

Are you in the middle of jumping feet first into the real estate market? Purchasing a home might seem intimidating at first – but if you have the perfect team behind you, you’ll be set for smooth sailing!

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there will probably be some confusion as to who is who and what is what – but set aside your worries, because Alliance Title is here to help you sort out your transaction team.

Who you’ll be working with

Lender or Mortgage Broker – If you plan on receiving a mortgage loan, working with a lender or mortgage broker is your first step in buying a home. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Well, a lender is a financial institution that makes loans directly to you. A mortgage broker does not lend money, but actually finds a lender for you.

REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent – A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

A Listing Agent is the one who ‘lists’ the property for sale. They represent the seller and aid in marketing the sale of the home.

The Selling Agent (or Buyer’s Agent) is the one who works with the buyer. They assist in locating a home to purchase.  

Title Officer – These officers complete thorough research of recorded documents to help eliminate any possible hidden risks that can terminate the validity of the title ownership. They will also issue the title insurance policy when the transaction closes.

Escrow Officer – This officer acts as a neutral third party during your sale, purchase, or refinance. They will monitor the transaction, prepare closing documents, coordinate the closing, disburse the funds, and more.

So gather round the new family dinner table – you’ll have a great team backing you up as you complete an exciting time in your life – purchasing a home.

Stay in touch with updated real estate and title news by checking out with Alliance’s blog.

ReThinking Office Spaces

Cubicles, fluorescent lighting, stale air – these all might be a thing of the past in your old office building.

COVID has changed the way we look and think about a lot of things; and it looks like the office space is one of them. Many companies have begun embracing a “biophilic” design – which focuses on health benefits by bringing in elements of the outdoors inside.

Rick Cook, founder of CookFox, a Manhattan-based architecture firm, explains, “The basic theory of biophilic design is enjoying the richness and complexity of nature and using the amazing ecosystem as a stress reduction tool to make our lives better.”

Think: green walls with plants to help circulate cleaner air, natural materials, indoor water features, and circadian lights.

With many Americans spending over 90% of their lives inside, a biophilic design can create a “happier” lifestyle for many employees. Research has shown that a lack of windows and poor ventilation creates more stress for employees.

COVID has inspired many architecture firms to create a better ventilation system. The problem, however, that the real estate market is currently trying to work through, is balancing the need for these healthy buildings, while also keeping energy usage to a minimum.

How do you hope your office will look in the future?

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog here.