I’VE MOVED SIX TIMES in the last 10 years. Four of those moves involved relocating less than a mile. The most recent move–from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona–required significantly more travel.
As a child, my family changed homes frequently. I attended five different elementary schools between first and fourth grade. I’ve never minded moving. I’m not the type of person who gets attached to a home or a particular location. I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing.
MOST PEOPLE THINK that selling real estate is the flip side of buying. But in most cases, selling is a very different enchilada, and that should drive who you hire as a REALTOR®—and, yes, that is the preferred style.
Buyers face an almost infinite list of potential properties to purchase. Initially, almost every house is a possibility. As the buyer and agent review the buyer’s requirements, the list is whittled down until the dream home is found.
IT WAS 2010, I was age 52, I’d just divorced—and I found myself with neither a home nor a fulltime job.
As part of the divorce, we’d sold the house. Between the cash from that sale and some savings I’d amassed when I was single, I had a modest nest egg. I also had a teenage daughter who needed to stay in our current school district.
The rent on my lovely two-bedroom townhouse was devouring my savings.
IN THE MARKET FOR a home loan? Chances are, you aren’t pleased. Amid soaring real estate prices and intense demand, mortgage rates have climbed above the psychologically important 5% threshold. Mortgage News Daily published its rates update on Friday afternoon, and the figures weren’t pretty for prospective borrowers. The 5.06% average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is close to the highest mark since late 2008.
Meanwhile, over the past 12 months, home prices are up 19.2%,
MY WIFE DECIDED to sell the house she bought before we were married. We’re both retired and I view it as another step in our ongoing efforts to simplify our financial lives as we age.
My wife and I interviewed a real estate agent who was recommended by a friend. Steven suggested we do some minor repairs before listing the house. Steven also gave us his opinion on the sale price. He told my wife she had a nice little starter home and we should list it in the middle of the estimated price range.
WHEN I PURCHASED a house in Portland, Oregon, in 2018 for $375,000, my plan was to stay in it for four years. By 2022, if everything went according to schedule, I’d be set to retire from my fulltime job. Then I’d sell the house, and my husband and I would move to Arizona, where we’d purchased a second home in 2019.
Conventional wisdom suggests that homeowners should plan on remaining put for at least five to seven years to come out ahead on a home purchase.
LET’S SAY YOU bought a few stocks on the advice of your financial advisor for $300,000. One year later, that same advisor says you’ve done really well on the stocks—which are now worth $400,000—and you should sell. After the sale, you net a $100,000 profit. Would you be willing to pay your advisor a 6% fee on the $400,000, equal to $24,000, for the advice he gave you?
If so, I’d think you were crazy.
HOME AFFORDABILITY is finally taking a hit now that mortgage rates have ticked higher. Last May, I wrote that property prices were through the roof but homes were still affordable. The reason: Historically low borrowing rates, coupled with record high median family income, had offset robust home prices.
The National Association of Realtors’ latest figures show housing affordability rivals that of last May. But the figures don’t yet reflect higher interest rates. Freddie Mac posts the latest set of mortgage rates each Thursday.
MY HUSBAND AND I purchased a home near Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019. It was the second house we’d bought in less than a year, so we were only able to come up with a 10% down payment. That’s meant paying $70 a month for the past 30 months to cover the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).
With property values in the Phoenix area up 30% since 2020, I knew I should contact our mortgage company to see if we could get the PMI payment removed.
MY MOM HAD PLANNED to look for a new home near my wife and me in 2022. In November 2021, I searched Realtor.com to see what was available. I saw a home that looked like a good fit, but its status was listed as “pending.” On a whim, I called the selling agent. It turned out that the house was falling out of escrow. We made an offer.
We didn’t have an agent, so the selling agent offered to represent us.
I DROVE BY the condominium I sold last year. It was bought by a young lady in her early 20s. I noticed a for-sale sign hanging near the front entrance of the building.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the unit for sale online. It had the same floor plan as the condo I’d sold, but was located on the first floor in the back of the building. The condo I owned was located on the top floor facing the street—a much better location.
AS WE GROW OLDER, maintaining the family home can become a burden. Eight years after I retired, my wife and I moved to a 2,000-square-foot condo. It’s about the same size as our old house. But it has no stairs, no basement—and no attic full of stuff. There’s also no exterior maintenance or landscaping work required of us.
I’ve been asking near-retirees how both downsizing and relocating figure into their retirement plans. Although there’s much talk about it,
ZILLOW ANNOUNCED recently that it would cease its algorithm-driven home buying program. Thus ends its three-year experiment to disrupt the real-estate brokerage business with what’s known as “i-buying.”
Zillow had purchased homes without significant involvement by real-estate agents. Instead, it used its proprietary algorithm—which it calls the Zestimate—to determine a property’s value. It then offered homeowners a percentage of this value, in cash, to buy their houses.
This offer proved appealing to many home sellers.
EARLY LAST YEAR, just as the pandemic was starting, we were looking to buy a new home in an area where houses sold quickly—but we feared selling our existing home would be far slower. In addition, home prices in the new area were substantially higher.
We had no first mortgage on our existing house and no desire to take one out for the new home. Still, we wanted to strike quickly if we found the right place to buy,
MY MOM JUST SOLD her house. A few months ago, she interviewed three real estate agents. Each offered her a different opinion of how much her home was worth. All three also charged different commissions.
In the end, she selected the agent with the highest fee. I was skeptical when she told me her 1,100-square-foot home would be listed for $500,000. My mom’s house and mine are nearly identical in size, age, location and condition.