When you think about buying a house, the first question that comes to mind might be, "How much do I need for a down payment?" Cale and Luke, both experienced lenders, shed some light on this.
According to Cale, if you've got $10,000 saved up, you're not getting turned away. Multiple programs and creative financing options mean that the entry point for homeownership is lower than many think. Luke agrees and points out that people who call him thinking $50,000 isn't enough for a down payment are far from the truth. The aim is to keep as much money in the bank as possible for the buyer.
Deborah, a seasoned Realtor, emphasizes the importance of having an emergency fund. She often advises clients not to dump all their savings into the down payment. What if there's a medical emergency or other unexpected expenses? Morgan, another expert Realtor, concurs; the goal is to help clients maintain a healthy financial balance.
Talking about the market's unpredictability, Cale admits that even experts get it wrong. Interest rates were expected to rise, but instead, they've been dropping. Luke adds that many factors, including election years and seasonality, influence interest rates, making it hard to predict.
Morgan notes that housing in Atlanta, for instance, is booming. However, talk to someone from New Jersey or Chicago, and you'd think the market is crashing. Different markets behave differently based on various factors, including demographics and local economic conditions.
According to Deborah, what we're seeing now is a more balanced market compared to the "unicorn years" of the pandemic. Homes are taking a bit longer to sell, but they're still selling. This has led to more back-and-forth negotiation between buyers and sellers, which she sees as a healthy market sign.
Luke brings up a crucial point about debt management. If someone is holding onto a mortgage with a 3-4% interest rate but has credit card debt at 29%, it might make more financial sense to sell their house and buy a new one at a higher mortgage rate, but with the capacity to wipe out their high-interest debt.
Speak to a lender as early as possible, recommends Cale. Understanding your complete financial picture can provide you with tailored advice to make the best decision possible. And as all our experts agree, whether you're buying or selling, it's essential to work with professionals who can guide you through the complexities of today's housing market.
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