Tag Archives: #Bankrate

Consider Condos as Part of Your Home Search

When looking to make their move, many buyers don’t consider purchasing a condominium as an option.

Overall, housing supply is still low. So, if you need more choices, expanding your search by adding additional housing types, like condos, could help.

Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget

While condominiums generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans, that size difference is one reason why they can be a more affordable option. According to a recent report from realtor.com, condo buyers paid roughly 7% less for their home than buyers of other housing types last year. With rising mortgage rates and home prices, the relative affordability of a condo could be worth considering.

Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner. Buying a condo now can springboard you into a bigger home later on.

An article from the Urban Institute explains: “Because condos…are generally more affordable, they tend to help first-time homebuyers step onto the first rung of the homeownership ladder. These buyers often use the equity in their condo to then purchase a larger, single-family home.”

In other words, owning a condo will help you start building wealth in the form of home equity. In time, the equity you build can fuel a future purchase should you decide you want to buy a new home.

Condo Living Provides Several Great Perks

Boosting the number of options during your home search is just one reason to consider condos, but there are several other benefits to condo living.

First, they tend to require minimal upkeep and lower maintenance. A recent article from Bankrate highlights this, saying: “…if the roof is leaking or the carpet in the lobby needs to be replaced, that’s not your responsibility – the condo association handles those duties.”

The association also is responsible for outside maintenance, snow removal, parking lot and road repair, etc. relieving owners of many traditional home upkeep costs. This should increase the opportunity to save money for the next move.

Condos often have amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, and walking/biking trails that first time home buyers can only dream about. Many are also conveniently located near restaurants, shopping and highway access.

Too often condos are seen as options only for younger buyers without children or those looking to downsize. That’s simply not the case. Our new condo is 1,300 sq. ft. — just 300 sq.ft. less than our three bedroom, two bath Cape where we lived for 28 years. The 300 sq. ft. difference easily represents the living space we weren’t using. (And we have a full basement that we could finish if we needed additional living space.)

When living in a condo, you do have to factor in the monthly HOA (Homeowners Association) fee. You need to compare the amount with the benefits and amenities that the property has. In our situation, we concluded the HOA was worth it considering what the complex offered.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo can be a lifestyle choice. If that appeals to you, condominiums can give you the added opportunities you need when looking for your your first home.

Curious about how condos can help you meet your homeownership goal? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to start reviewing your options.

…and BTW, we’re not limited anymore to assisting our clients and friends on Cape Cod. Over the last several months, Today Real Estate has expanded its footprint and we now have an office in Norton, which will allow us to work with our long time friends and acquaintances in the Attleboro area.

Talk soon….

Mari and Hank

The American Dream

Defining the American dream is personal, and no one individual will have the same definition as another. But the feelings it brings about success, freedom, and a sense of prosperity are universal. That’s why, for many people, homeownership remains a key part of the American dream. Your home is your stake in the community, a strong financial investment, and an achievement to be proud of.

A recent survey from Bankrate asked respondents to rank achievements as indicators of financial success, and the responses show that owning a home is still important to many Americans today (see graph below):

Is Homeownership Still the American Dream? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, homeownership ranks above other significant milestones, including retirement, having a successful career, and earning a college degree.

This could be because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool and provides meaningful financial stability. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains: “Homeownership builds financial security. With 65.5% of Americans owning homes, the net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times the net worth of a non-owner.”

There are other ways your home acts as more than just a roof over your head. The Mortgage Reports highlights a few of the many benefits homeowners enjoy, including:

  • Your housing costs are fixed – and that can help combat rising costs from inflation.
  • You’ll have greater privacy and the opportunity to customize your living space.

Plus, homeowners tend to be more active in their community. As the NAR says: “Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in a community.”

What Does That Mean for You?

If your definition of the American Dream involves greater freedom and prosperity, then homeownership could play a major role in helping you achieve that dream. When you set out to buy, know there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. You’ll have a place you can call your own, feel most comfortable, and grow your wealth.

This is a concept not lost on millennials (born between 1982 and 2000), who are often referred to as a generation of renters. However, their homeownership rate is catching up to Generation X (born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s). In the coming years, they may become the first generation since World War II to reverse the trend in declining homeownership.

According to Apartment List: “today the millennial homeownership rate is 43 percent, well below the rates of generation X (67 percent) and the baby boomer and silent generations (77 percent).

“An important feature of millennial homeownership that often gets muddled in the media conversation is that it is increasing, and with few minor exceptions, it has always been increasing. The oldest millennials turned 18 in 1999, and every year since then there has been a net increase in the number of millennial-owned homes.

“Since the Great Recession, the millennial homeownership rate has grown faster than any other, particularly in the last five years…Today, millennials are the least likely to own a home, but they are the most likely to purchase one.”

No matter your generation, buying a home is a powerful decision and a key part of the American Dream. And if buying a home for the first time, upsizing, downsizing or moving to that “someday” place is part of your personal dreams this year, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions as real estate professionals and as people who last month sold our home of 28 years to buy a smaller property in an area that we had been thinking about for years.

Please stay safe and pay attention to children or adults who aren’t familiar with the water. We’ve already had far too many accidents this summer. Thanks…

Best regards,

Mari and Hank

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. These days, if you’re looking to purchase your first home, you’re probably concerned about what’s happening in the housing market, how much you need to save, and where to start.

Here are three tips to help you confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

1. Consider All Options Because Inventory Is Low

As we all know, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. So, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums and townhouses can be an excellent way to increase your choices.

According to Bankrate: “Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single family homes.”

Condos and townhouses are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.

You might also consider expanding your area of interest. A few miles could make a difference in price and homes to choose from.

2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think

Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Acccording to Bankrate: “One of the biggest misconceptions among consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”

Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers | MyKCM

Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.

Some loan options require as little as 3.5% down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. 

3. This Isn’t the Time to Take Uncle Harry’s Advice

Finally, no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a professional.

Well meaning relatives like Uncle Harry, who “knows a little something about real estate,” or family and friends, who bought houses a decade or more ago, are not your best sources of information and advice about today’s housing market.

(They might be the ones telling you that you need 20% for a downpayment!)

If you’re just starting out, a real estate professional can help you with the initial steps, including educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved.

Once you’re ready to begin your search, we can help you understand the market where you’re interested and search for available homes.

And when it’s time to make an offer, we can advise you on what the current trends and expectations are and help your offer stand out above the rest.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss what’s possible. It’s important to have the correct information to make an informed decision.

…and remember. We know of what we speak. We’re selling and buying now, too. Check out our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube Channel, Mari Sennott Plus. We’ll be posting new episodes soon.


Thanks to everyone who came by the Sandwich Office of Today Real Estate on Saturday to have their valuable documents shredded by Great White Shred. Our goal was 100 “boxes” and we reached 93, even though the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. We plan on doing it again late summer/early fall.

Thanks as well to Kristy Sassone from First Home Mortgage for the assist with coffee and donuts and our raffle prize sponsors Jason Goldstein Photography, JDs Burgers and Sushi, Tomatillos, and Penguins Ice Cream.

Enjoy your week.

Mari and Hank