Peggy Farber's Blog
Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.
Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.
In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.
Home equity and market value
As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.
Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.
However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.
How to build equity
The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.
One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.
The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.
What can I use home equity for?
The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.
Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.
If you discover a house that you want to buy, it generally is a good idea to submit a competitive offer. That way, you can move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
However, the hours after you submit a home offer can be stressful, particularly for a buyer who fails to plan accordingly. Lucky for you, we're here to help you stay calm, cool and collected as you wait to receive a seller's response to your offer.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to handle a seller's response to your homebuying proposal.
1. Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario
Even the worst-case scenario is not the end of the world for a buyer who is awaiting a seller's response to a home offer. In fact, if a seller rejects your proposal, you can always reenter the housing market and continue your pursuit of your dream home.
As you await a seller's response to your home offer, you should not stop searching for available houses. Because if you continue your home search, you'll have no trouble moving forward in the homebuying journey if a seller rejects your home offer.
2. Consider All of Your Options
If you submit a home offer and a seller says "Yes," what should you do next? Consider how you'll proceed if a seller accepts your proposal, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.
On the other hand, it helps to prepare for a potential counter-offer from a home seller as well. If you are open to negotiating with a seller, you may be able to find common ground with him or her and finalize a home purchase.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent knows all about the stress that is commonly associated with submitting a homebuying proposal. He or she can help you minimize this stress and ensure you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent will work with you to submit a homebuying proposal. This housing market professional then will keep you up to date as you await a seller's response to your offer. And if you have any concerns or questions during this time, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.
A real estate agent will make it simple to streamline the homebuying journey too. For instance, if a home seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent will be ready to help you move forward with a property inspection and appraisal. Conversely, if a home seller rejects your proposal, a real estate agent will be prepared to work with you to help you discover another house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
The waiting period after you submit an offer on a house may prove to be a challenging time. Fortunately, if you plan ahead for this period, you can maintain your confidence and continue to move forward in the homebuying journey.
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A homebuying negotiation may cause your stress levels to rise. However, as you work toward purchasing your dream house, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many ways that you can limit stress as you finalize a home purchase, including:
1. Discuss Your Homebuying Concerns with Family Members and Friends
Family members and friends offer plenty of support. Thus, these loved ones are happy to listen to you and help you in any way possible, no matter what happens during a homebuying negotiation.
Don't be afraid to ask family members and friends for homebuying advice, either. These loved ones may be able to share their past homebuying negotiation experiences with you. And by doing so, your family members and friends could provide you with valuable insights that may help you move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Consider the Big Picture
Buying a home likely will be one of the biggest transactions that you'll complete in your lifetime. At the same time, it is important to note that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Therefore, you should try to remember that even if a home purchase agreement falls through, dozens of high-quality houses are still available in cities and towns nationwide.
Sometimes, it helps to take a step back during a homebuying negotiation. If you can inhale and try to relax, you may be better equipped than ever before to stay calm, cool and collected during a negotiation. With a fresh perspective, you could boost the likelihood of coming to terms with a seller and finalizing a home purchase agreement.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to embark on the homebuying journey alone. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands the stress associated with purchasing a house and will do everything possible to help you alleviate your homebuying worries. He or she can explain the homebuying process and respond to any concerns or questions. Plus, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream residence.
Furthermore, a real estate agent provides support after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a residence. A real estate agent will help you set up a home inspection, conduct this inspection with you and ensure you can complete a full review of the inspection results. In addition, a real estate agent can help you prepare for a home closing and ensure you can finalize a home purchase as quickly as possible.
There is no need to let stress get the best of you during a homebuying negotiation. By using the aforementioned tips, you can keep your stress levels in check as you negotiate a home purchase and accelerate the process of purchasing your dream home.