If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, you’re likely focused on saving up for everything that purchase involves. One cost that’s likely top of mind is your down payment. But don't let a common misconception about how much you need to save make the process harder than it could be.
I hope the following information will be helpful for you, but let me encourage you to contact me. I have a terrific network of financial experts who can help you figure out exactly what you need to know and do.
Understand 20% Isn’t Always the Typical Down Payment
Freddie Mac explains:
“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.”
Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. This means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, the median down payment today is only 14%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 6% (see graph below):
Learn About Options That Can Help You Toward Your Goal
If saving for a down payment still feels like a challenge, know that there’s help available. A real estate professional and trusted lender can show you options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from Down Payment Resource, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.
Plus there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.
To understand your options, be sure to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Down Payment Resource. Then, partner with a trusted lender to learn what you qualify for on your homebuying journey.
Remember, a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your down payment options.
Fall is a good time to prepare your home for the winter season. Here are a few things to check and think about with your home.
HVAC Maintenance: Contact a heating & cooling contractor to inspect your furnace. A dirty heat exchanger can hurt your furnaces efficiency resulting in higher fuel cost and possible carbon monoxide emissions. Change your furnace filters monthly to run more efficiently and increase air quality. Newer homes with indoor air ventilation systems should be checking their unit’s filters every six months.
Exterior Openings: Inspect doors and windows and if necessary, re-caulk and install new weather stripping.
Roof Maintenance: Check the roof for loose or missing slates and shingles. Inspect the chimney for loose bricks and failing mortar joints. Clean debris from gutters. Snow will enter these areas and with the freeze/thaw cycles can cause expensive water damage to the home.
Attics: Check your attic for insulation and ventilation. An attic should have at least an R-38 insulating value. Ventilation requirements vary with the type of soffits and attic design. Ventilation is important to the life span of your roof and makes your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Ventilation prevents heat & moisture build up and uneven roof temperatures with can cause ice dams which prevent water from properly draining off your roof.
Shut off and drain all exterior water valves: that are not designed against freezing temperatures. Frozen water pipes bursting in a wall can be an expensive fix even if detected early!
Clothes Dryer Fire Safety: Over 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year in the U.S. Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause. More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter. Make sure the termination of the duct to the outside has no screen but a damper that opens and closes freely. This is a common spot for lint buildup as are elbows and bends in the duct run. Disconnect from the dryer and check the vent pipe every three months. Replace coiled wire foil or plastic venting with ridged, non-ribbed metal duct. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. Clean the lent filter after every dryer load. Don’t leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed!
Smoke Detectors: Most home deaths happen between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. Many victims die because of smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, workshop, and especially bedrooms. Be sure to test batteries at least once a month and never remove batteries from a smoke detector except to replace them. Test your batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
Carbon Monoxide Detector: Because CO is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, it often goes undetected. Any fuel burning appliance in your home is a potential CO source. Every home is required by state law to have at least one CO detector placed within 10 feet of any bedrooms. Be sure your detector displays the Underwriters Laboratories (UL 2034) label.
Fire Extinguisher: A multipurpose dry chemical Class ABC is the best choice for general home use. Mount the extinguisher on a bracket on the wall near an exit so that anyone using it can easily escape from the room if a fire spreads.
Planning ahead and taking precautions against winter hardships can help you weather the season in comfort and safety.
Source: City of Hastings, MN Website - https://www.hastingsmn.gov/residents/fall-home-maintenance-tips
In August, closed sales were down 17% compared to a year ago, with 8,256 transactions across the state. New listings followed the cooling trend, falling 17.9% compared to last August even as the total number of homes for sale increased by 2% to 13,271. This bumped the supply of homes on the market to 1.9 months, an 18.8% gain over last year.
Although the median sales price increased 4.4% to $330,000, sellers were receiving slightly less than their asking price, down 2.2% to 99.3%. Homes were sitting longer, too, with days on the market averaging 29 days, up 7.4% from August 2021.
See the full August Housing Report here.
"Buying a house for the first time couldn't have been easier. You were so helpful and hard-working and would drop anything to make it happen for us! We appreciated all the communication throughout the entire process. Sometimes it’s overlooked but good communication made this so easy."
NATHAN & AMANDA | JULY 2022
"Thank you, David, for doing so much for me. I am already dreaming of decorating my new place. Thank you for being diligent in helping me find the right home, and thanks for answering my questions quickly. I love the way you handled the entire process."
JOANN | JULY 2022
Closed Sales and New Listings Slip in June
In June, closed sales of homes declined by nearly 14% compared to a year ago, with a total of 9,208 properties sold across the state. New listings were down 6.4% year-over-year even as the total number of homes for sale increased 8.2% to 12,298 properties.
Overall housing inventory increased significantly, up 21.4% over last June to 1.7 months’ supply of homes on the market. Despite softening activity relative to last year, consumer demand drove the median sales price up 6.2% to $345,000, and the average price increased 9% to $401,319. Sellers were still receiving an average of 102.5% of their asking price, although this marks a slight 0.7% decline compared to June of last year.
See the full June Housing Report here.
When buying or selling a home, it's important to understand the market and gain helpful insights to help you achieve the best results.