Tag Archives: #homeequity

How You Can Use Your Home’s Equity

If you’re currently a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years as home prices skyrocketed and you made your monthly mortgage payments. Home equity builds over time and can help you achieve certain goals. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogicthe average borrower with a home loan has almost $300,000 in equity right now.

As you weigh your options during these somewhat confusing economic times, it’s important to understand your assets and how you can leverage them. As real estate professionals, we can be a good source of information to help you understand how much home equity you have and suggest some of the ways you can use it.  Here are a few examples.

1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or you may have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle.

If you want to upgrade your house, you can put your equity toward a down payment on the home of your dreams. And if you’re planning to downsize, you may be surprised that your equity may cover some of the cost of your next home, if not all.

Earlier this year, we used the equity in our home to put us in the position to make a successful offer on our new home without including a home sale contingency. We then marketed our house after our offer was accepted.

If you’re concerned about where you will move when you successfully market your home, your equity allows you to answer that question before listing your property.

2. Reinvest in Your Current House

According to a recent survey from Point, 39% of homeowners would invest in home improvement projects if they chose to access their equity. This is a great option if you want to change some things about your living space, but you aren’t quite ready to make a move.

Home improvement projects allow you to customize your home to suit your needs and sense of style. Just remember to think ahead with any updates you make, as some renovations add more value to your home and are more likely to appeal to future buyers than others.

For example, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows refinishing or replacing wood flooring has a high cost recovery. We can advise you on which projects to invest in to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell.

3. Pursue Your Personal Goals

In addition to making a move or updating your house, home equity can also help you achieve the life goals you’ve dreamed of. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retiring or downsizing, buying a vacation home, or funding an education.

While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging it to start a business or putting it toward education costs can help you achieve other personal goals.

Bottom Line

Your equity can be a game changer. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home and how might you best use it, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to help.

Mari and Hank

Selling Your Home Before the Holidays

As you look ahead to the winter, you’re likely making plans about what you want to accomplish before 2022 ends. If the location or size of your current home no longer meets your needs, finding a house that better suits your lifestyle may be a top priority. But with today’s cooling housing market, is this really a good time to sell, or should you wait?

If you’re ready to make your move, here are three reasons why you may want to decide selling before the holidays.

1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers

Typically, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their home until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.

Selling now, while other homeowners are holding off, can help your house stand out. Start the process today so you can get your property on the market and be ahead of your competition.

It’s also around the holidays that we often complete minor maintenance projects, because relatives and friends will be visiting. We paint the extra bedroom, fix a broken step on the back deck or give the guest bathroom a quick touch up. These are all tasks that will also help in marketing your home.

2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers

Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it’s still low overall. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak homebuying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays: “While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

Serious buyers will continue to look this winter and your house may be exactly what they’re searching for. If you list your house now, you’ll be able to get in front of the eager buyers, who are hoping to make a move before the year ends or by early in 2023.

3. Seize a Great Chance To Move Up

Don’t forget, that as a homeowner you quite possibly have a substantial amount of equity. According to CoreLogic, the average amount of equity per mortgage holder has climbed to almost $300,000. That’s an all-time high. That means the equity you have in your house right now could cover some, if not all, of a down payment on your next home. (That’s what we did.)

As you weigh the reasons to sell before winter, don’t lose sight of why you’re thinking about moving in the first place. Maybe it’s time to buy a house that’s in a better location, has the space you and your loved ones have been craving, or simply gives you that sense of home.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house so you can find a home that better suits your needs, don’t delay your plans. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@ todayrealestate.com so we can develop a marketing plan for your current home and begin the search for your new one.

The Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day, a federal holiday set aside to honor the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces.. We thank all of them for their service and sacrifices. We are forever grateful.

Mari and Hank

Should You Sell Your House This Year?

There’s no denying that the housing market is undergoing a shift as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows.

On Cape Cod, there were 231 homes for sale in January. In August, there were 563. This is nowhere near what we consider to be a normal market. But, what it does represent is a slow tick upward in the number of homes available.

So, here’s a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: Where Can You Go?

We often hear from those who are thinking about selling that their biggest concern is that they don’t know where they can go. But, one of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, this actually can benefit you as a seller

If you’re marketing your house to make a move, it means you’ll have more options for your own home search. This gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you’ve put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.

Opportunity #2: The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers’ market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there needs to be a six months’ supply of homes nationally. According to the latest report from the Cape and Island Association of Realtors there’s a 1.9 month supply here.

While you’ll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. On Cape, the Cumulative Days on Market Before Sale is 29 (YTD), still quick by traditional standards, but not the gone-in-a-weekend pace of even just a few months ago.

Opportunity #3: Your Equity Has Grown by Record Amounts

The home price appreciation that the market experienced over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains: “Homeowners trying to decide if now is the time to market their homes are still in a good position in many places across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion…”

While there are no statistics available on individual equity, we can report based on our own personal experience and that of our sellers that this is true.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.

That’s what we did a few months ago. We used the equity in our home as down payment for our new one. So, we were able to secure where we were going before the For Sale sign ever went up in our yard.

There’s often never a “good time” to market a home: an unexpected job transfer, the loss of a loved one, or a family break up can make the decision hard and the process difficult. But sellers manage to get through it with the help of a knowledgeable professional.

If, however, the market is presenting you with an opportunity to benefit from your long-term real estate investment and make the change that you’ve been contemplating for years, why not move forward?

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to talk about your possibilities. We’re happy to help.

Mari and Hank

Should You Buy a Home Right Now?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, there’s one question that you’re no doubt asking yourself: should I buy right now, or should I wait?  While no one can answer that question for you, here’s some information that could help you make your decision.

The Future of Home Price Appreciation

Each quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists to compile projections for the future of home price appreciation. The output is the Home Price Expectation Survey. In the latest release, it forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years (see graph below):

Should I Buy a Home Right Now? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, the rate of appreciation will moderate over the next few years as the market shifts away from the unsustainable pace it saw during the pandemic. After this year, experts project home price appreciation will continue, but at levels that are more typical for the market. 

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says: “People should not anticipate another double-digit price appreciation. Those days are over…We may return to a more normal price appreciation of 4-5% a year.”

For you, ongoing appreciation should give you peace of mind that your investment in homeownership is worthwhile, because you’re buying an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.

What Does That Mean for You?

To give you an idea of how this could impact your net worth, here’s how a typical home could grow in value over the next few years using the expert price appreciation projections from the Pulsenomics survey mentioned above (see graph below):

Should I Buy a Home Right Now? | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, even at a more typical pace of appreciation, you still stand to make significant equity gains as your home grows in value. That’s what’s at stake if you delay your plans.

As of June 20, the median sales price for a single family home on Cape Cod is $694,250.00. While that is certainly higher than just a few years ago, it’s still less than Boston ($800,000) and many surrounding communities. Plus, the Cape also offers much more in terms of quality school systems, recreational and outdoor activities, etc.

So, if you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as your home’s value (and your own net worth) is projected to grow with ongoing price appreciation.

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 and msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. We’re happy to answer your questons.

…and remember last month we sold our home of 28 years and downsized to an area that we had been thinking about for years.

Stay safe this week and please keep an eye on the kids and adults, who are not familiar with the water. Thanks…

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

The High Cost of Waiting

You’ve been thinking about buying a home, but the current economic situation has you skittish. As predicted, Interest rates have inched up. But, they’re nowhere near what you’re currently paying on your credit cards.

Well-meaning relatives, who “know a little something about real estate,” and not so sincere talking heads on your favorite cable news channel are saying you should wait because sales prices are going to drop.

Level off?

Possibly.

Drop?

No.

So, here’s what waiting is costing you.

If you already owned a home, your net worth likely got a big boost thanks to rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And today, based on recent home price appreciation, you would be building equity far faster than you would have expected. Here’s why.

Because there’s an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are on the rise. That means a home is worth more in today’s market because it’s in high demand. As Patrick Dodd, President and CEO of CoreLogicexplains: “Price growth is the key ingredient for the creation of home equity wealth…This has led to the largest one year gain in average home equity wealth for owners…”

Basically, because home values have climbed so much, equity has increased too. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $64,000 over the last 12 months.

While that’s the nationwide number, the map below shows that average equity for Massachusetts homeowners has increased $62,000.

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year | MyKCM

The Opportunity Your Rising Home Equity Provides

Thinking about marketing your home and upsizing, downsizing or moving to that someday neighborhood? Your equity can help you purchase your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling or you’re worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s ongoing home price appreciation, your equity can help fuel your move.

That’s what we just did. We took advantage of the equity in our home to downsize and purchase something smaller in an area that we’ve been looking at for years. We had no home sale contingency when we made our offer. We then sold our house and received $45,000 over asking price! You can do it, too!

Curious about your options? We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you current market statistics, as well as our experiences as both buyers and sellers. Let’s talk soon.

Enjoy your week. It looks like summer is finally here!

Best regards,

Mari and Hank

Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way

There are several reasons why potential buyers tell us that they are waiting to make their move.

One theory is that with forbearance plans coming to an end, there will be a wave of foreclosures similar to what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. These buyers are figuring that they will then swoop in and purchase a home at a discounted price.

Here are a few reasons why that won’t happen.

There are significantly fewer homeowners in trouble this time

After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their homes 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 fear was the pandemic would impact the housing industry in a similar way. Many projected up to 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. In reality, only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 2.2%.

As of about two weeks ago, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at  1,221,000. That’s far fewer than the 9.3 million households that lost their homes just over a decade ago.

Most of the mortgages in forbearance have enough equity to sell their homes

Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, of 1.22 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 93% have at least 10% equity in their homes. This 10% equity is important because it enables homeowners to sell their homes and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.

The remaining 7% might not have the option to sell, but if the entire 7% of those 1.22 million homes went into foreclosure, that would total about 85,400 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers for 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 that impacted the housing crash 15 years ago. It’s actually less than one-third of any of the three years prior to the pandemic.

The current market can absorb listings coming to the market

When foreclosures hit the market back in 2008, there was an oversupply of houses for sale. It’s exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was over a nine-month supply of listings on the market. Today, that number is less than a three-month supply. Here’s a graph showing the difference between the two markets.

Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The data indicates why Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman and Associates, was on point when she stated: “The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

With housing prices continuing to rise and mortgage interest rates inching up, waiting to make your move is simply not a solid financial strategy.

Curious about your options? We’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.


We’re often asked about whether it’s a good idea to market your home during the holidays. As part of her 30 Days, 30 Questions series, Mari explained why it’s not such a bad idea.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you’re a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you’ll need access to capital for either the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move? | MyKCM

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners’ equity. The graph above uses data from CoreLogic to show the average home equity gain in the first quarter of the last nine years.

As a homeowner you have options. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you’ll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you’ll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you’ll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you’re one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you’re one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

If you’re ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you’ll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can locate the balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you could pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or visit our website at www.makeyourmovewithmari.com/evaluation where you can receive a free report. We’re happy to help.

Have a great week….

Mari and Hank