Things to consider when you want to buy a house with a pool

Some homebuyers wouldn’t think of buying a home that didn’t offer a swimming pool. You’ll typically find these folks in the warmer parts of the country. Then, there are those who didn’t have a pool on their wish list but fell in love with a home that offers one.

Whichever group you belong to, there are a few things to consider about swimming pools and the homes that wrap around them.


Get as much information on the pool as possible

Boat owners are familiar with the old saying that “A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.”

The same can be said about a pool, which is a hole in the ground you throw money into.

Naturally, you’ll want to have the pool inspected and find out:

  • How old it is as well as the age of the equipment
  • The size
  • How often it’s used
  • The history of any maintenance and/or repair issues
  • Does the pool meet local and state safety requirements?

The answers to most of these questions may help you figure out how much it will cost to maintain the pool.

Maintenance of a pool isn’t quick or cheap

The goal of pool maintenance isn’t just to make it Instagram-ready. You’ll need to keep it sanitized, free of algae, and pH balanced.

If you think you’d like to save money by doing it yourself, you may, but don’t forget the time you’ll spend on the job.

Stacey Freed at crunched some numbers and found that if you DIY  your pool’s maintenance, plan on spending “… about five to 10 hours of your spare time,” each week on it.

Nicole Shein at lists the bare minimum when it comes to pool maintenance tasks:

  • Cleaning out debris, such as hair, garden litter, bugs, etc. This is known as “skimming” the pool.
  • Clean out the pool’s strainer basket. This task helps “… protect the pump from any damaging materials settling in the pool and its plumbing,” claim the experts at Evoqua Water Technologies.
  • Scrub down the pool’s floor and walls to help prevent algae buildup.
  • Vacuum the pool. The pool filter doesn’t catch everything, unfortunately.
  • Refill the pool if needed.
  • Test the water to determine if it needs additional chemicals.

“It’s a good idea to skim, check the baskets, and make sure the filter is functioning as it should on a daily basis,” Shein suggests.

“Vacuuming and tending to the pool water’s chemical makeup is usually a weekly chore,” she concludes.

Then, there is the cost of the equipment and the chemicals you’ll need to purchase to do it yourself.

You can always hire a professional to maintain the pool. The average monthly cost, nationwide, for this service ranges “… between $110 and $351 per year, with an average cost of $229.” (

Take all of this into account when considering a home with a pool.

Maintenance isn’t the only way a pool grabs your cash

Before you sign on the dotted line, contact your homeowner’s insurance agent (you’ve chosen one, right?).

You’ll want to get this insurance nailed down so there are no financial surprises when it comes time to close escrow. But you’ll also want to know how much coverage for the pool will run you.

“… homeowners insurance with a pool is generally priced a bit higher than the typical cost of home insurance,” suggests Christy Bieber, insurance expert for

Shein suggests that some insurers consider an in-ground pool as part of the home, or, it could be classified as an “other structure.”

“Liability” is the name of the insurance game when it comes to swimming pools. Perform your due diligence by having your real estate agent obtain the answers to the questions we suggested above, in the third paragraph.

The most important of these questions is the one about meeting safety requirements. These might include a fence around the pool with a secured gate and/or an alarm.


Does a pool add value to the home?

Good for you to consider a home’s future value before buying it.

When determining whether or not a pool adds value to a home, consider the climate in the region. For Minneapolis or Fargo residents, for instance, a pool isn’t as high on the list of wanted amenities as it is for a buyer in Las Vegas or Phoenix, where it’s likely the pool will get used year-round.

“But if you live in a typical community where some houses have pools but most do not, having a pool built will probably not have any impact on the value of your home,” Robert Taylor, a real estate investor in Sacramento, California, tells

If you have additional questions, please let us know. Advice is always free and helping you find the right house for you and your budget is always our goal.


How to find the right real estate agent for your needs

“Are the online real estate agent reviews, such as those at the big real estate portals, reliable?” It’s a question we often hear.

A representative of one of these companies once said “We do have published rules and guidelines around our reviews. In addition, our general Terms of Use is also applicable. Having said this, we are certainly very aware of and keep a close eye on techniques used for submitting fake reviews . . . We take this very seriously. . .”

We think they are reliable, but they should not be the sole source of information on real estate agents you are thinking of working with.

The search for representation in a real estate transaction is something that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Understand that whomever you hire will be the person/people responsible for steering your transaction to a smooth and lucrative closing. Choose the wrong agent and you open yourself to stress, aggravation and, possibly, loss of money.

So, how do you find the right real estate agent for your needs? 

Starting online, looking for social proof is a good place to start. So, yes, read the agents’ reviews on the various aggregator websites, but don’t stop there. Check out the agents’ websites, looking for evidence of their expertise and integrity.

It’s also a good idea that, when you narrow your choices to at least three agents to interview, that you ask each one for references from past clients.

Insist that you be given phone numbers so that you can call each one and ask the tough questions about the service they received.

Ask the right questions

Determine what type of agent you want to work with – what attributes are important to you. We’ve found that most of our clients were looking for someone who was responsive – who actually returned their calls, emails and texts within a reasonable amount of time.

They also complained about other agents who didn’t listen to them.

While asking the right questions of the agent is important, listening to the types of questions the agents ask you is equally crucial.

If you are a homebuyer, did he or she inquire, during the interview, about your loan pre-approval status and explain its importance? If you are selling your home, did the agents ask you about your preferred timeline?

Pertinent questions, specific to your transaction, are important signs that you’re interviewing a good agent.

It takes money to make money

I don’t know who first said that “it takes money to make money,” but he or she nailed it. And the advice is even more important when it comes to selling a home.

Naturally you’ll want to learn all you can about each agent’s marketing plan but it’s even more important to ask about their marketing budgets. A new or part-time agent may be operating on a shoestring. If so, you may receive the bare bones in marketing services.

To properly market a home requires pulling out all the stops, it often requires a balance of both innovative and tried-and-true tactics.

Since first impressions are critical, the referral to a professional photographer and stager are a must. Marketing to multiple platforms is also crucial.

Finding the right real estate agent to sell or buy a home may seem like looking for the needle in the proverbial haystack, but it doesn’t have to be.

Choose an agent with good reviews on social media and at the big real estate portals and then ask for further proof in the form of testimonials from former and current clients.

During the interviews, sellers should ask the tough questions about marketing and marketing budgets and remember to pay attention to each agent’s listening skills and the questions they ask you.

Questions? Feel free to reach out anytime.


There’s a reason it’s called a ‘starter home’

Quick! Imagine for a moment what your life looked like a decade ago compared to today. Big difference, right? Maybe you were in another line of work or perhaps a different job, kids were born or moved out of the house. The neighborhood may have changed as well.

Remember, as you shop for your first home, your life today may look completely different ten years from now. Therefore, if you’re on a tight budget like so many first-time homebuyers, it’s important to understand that this first home is just a starter home and the dream, forever home will happen down the line.

When you approach hunting for your first home from this perspective, it becomes far less stressful.

What is a starter home?

  • A starter home typically offers two bedrooms. Sometimes you’ll find a three-bedroom starter, with a small square footage.
  • They are often located in older neighborhoods or, perhaps less-desirable parts of town.
  • They may be lacking in the amenities offered by larger homes.

 Benefits of a starter home

Let’s take a look at just some of the benefits of purchasing a starter home:

  • If your goal is to buy a starter home, you’ll spend less time saving for the down payment, allowing you to buy a home sooner.
  • You’ll build equity faster in a starter home
  • When you go to sell the home, you will find that starter homes are in greater demand, typically than larger homes.
  • Small starter homes are cheaper to maintain.
  • Starter homes are cheaper to heat and cool (provided they’re efficient).
  • Your property tax bill will be lower for a starter home.

Yes, there are disadvantages

  • Starter homes may feel a wee bit tight for couples just starting or adding to a family.
  • While renovating is always a possibility (if you have enough property), because it’s a starter home you may not live there long enough to recoup the construction costs.

Additional considerations

If you shop for this first home as an investor would, by looking for the cheapest home in the best neighborhood you can afford and, hopefully, near quality schools, you’ll be shopping wisely. Then, when it comes time to sell, this starter home will help pay for the forever, dream home.

After working with homebuyers for as long as I have, I think that it’s only natural for the first-timer to have delusions of grandeur. Going from tenant to homeowner brings lofty ideas, aside from the normal “I get to paint the walls whatever color I want,” and “We can finally get the kids a dog.”

Most first-time buyers initially assume they’ll get far more home for the money they have to spend, skipping from the starter home step right on into the forever home. Once you get used to the idea that you’ll need to work your way up to that larger, grander home you can relax into the house-hunting process.

You may even want to consider purchasing a fixer-upper. These homes typically offer the buyer the opportunity to get closer to their dream home quicker by not only allowing you to customize the home to your tastes but also with a more rapid build-up of equity.

FHA offers a loan program (FHA 203k) that rolls the cost of the rehab of the home into the mortgage so you’ll have only one payment every month. Let us know if you’d like to know more about this program and we’ll put you in touch with a lender who can explain its benefits in detail.


2 critical home price influences

Pricing your home is one of the most angst-filled parts of the selling process. Yes, we will help you determine a solid list price for your home, but that figure is passed on to you as a suggestion. The final list price will be your choice.

Depending on where the housing market stands at any given time, prices may be in flux, making it even more challenging for you to pinpoint that just-right price. Of course, this is something we do in our practice of business every day. But, again, the final list price is up to you

Keep in mind that when we find a buyer for your home his or her lender’s appraiser will determine your home’s market value by analyzing several factors. Some of these include:

  • Location
  • Condition
  • Age
  • Size
  • Quality of construction
  • Design

Price Influencers You Can Control

While some of these factors are out of your control, there are two critical price influencers homeowners most certainly can control:

  • Presentation
  • Your real estate agent

Since so much about the home buying process is based on emotion, how the home is presented to potential buyers is a powerful price influencer. Creating the right ambiance helps a home sell faster and for the most amount of money, the market will bear. It is, therefore, the foundation of a successful home sale.

The Role of Your Real Estate Agent

Your agent is the best person to consult about your home’s presentation.

All the effort, time, and money that goes into creating the home’s presentation is wasted, however, if the home isn’t marketed appropriately. And, marketing a home for sale is the listing agent’s primary job. This includes determining your home’s “wow factor,” which in turn helps us understand who the likely buyer will be.

For example, if your home is in close proximity to a popular elementary school, we can safely assume that your most-likely buyer will be a family with young children.

This knowledge allows us to maximize the appeal of your home to this particular buyer pool and helps us develop a targeted marketing plan. Using our example of the young family, we may want to stage the backyard and play up interior features that families find appealing.

Marketing Your Home


Marketing is an art and getting the news out about a home requires a healthy marketing budget—something many real estate agents lack. From hiring professional photographers to employing a videographer to creating 3-D video tours of your home, there are many ways to bring eyes to your listing, if needed.

We’re happy to discuss your expectations of us when it comes to listing and marketing your home. Feel free to reach out at any time.

3 Ways to buy a home with little cash out of pocket

Millions of would-be homeowners struggle under the misconception that they can’t buy a house without having a huge down payment to give the lender. In reality, there are several ways to realize the dream of homeownership with little cash out of your pocket.

1. No down payment loans

If you are a current or former member of the United States military or the spouse of a deceased member, you may qualify for what is one of the best loan programs in the country, offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA doesn’t grant the loan, a conventional lender will do that. Instead, the VA offers a guarantee making the lender far more likely to trust borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and no down payment.

If you qualify, you also won’t have private mortgage insurance (PMI) tacked onto the loan, saving you a significant chunk of money every month. There is a one-time VA funding fee (waived for some borrowers) that you’ll need to pay and that amount varies, according to certain conditions.

There is also no mortgage insurance requirement, which saves you money on your monthly payment.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has published an online guide to help you learn all there is to know about their home loan program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also provides home loan programs, one that is similar to the VA loan in that it offers a guaranty to the lender and another that is a direct loan from the USDA.

Both loans have no down payment requirement. The catch is that you must buy a home in an area that the USDA considers “rural” and the home must be “modest,” meaning it contains no extra bells and whistles.

Check all eligibility requirements online at

2. Low down payment loans

Most homebuyers are familiar with the home loan program offered by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA for short. Although conventional loans make up the bulk of mortgages nationwide, the FHA-backed mortgage is the most widely used loan program by first-time homebuyers.

Down payment requirements range from 3.5 percent to 10 percent, depending on how your finances look and the lender’s requirements. You will be required to purchase PMI and, unlike a conventional loan, you must continue paying the insurance premium for the life of the loan.

If your credit score is at least 620, you agree to take homeowner classes, completely document your assets, income and debt and you can pay for PMI, you may qualify for a Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac home loan. These have a 3 percent down payment requirement

3. Down payment assistance programs

Local, state and federal agencies offer an array of down payment assistance programs. Here’s a list of just a few:

Grants – Would-be homebuyers love grants and it’s easy to see why: unlike mortgage loans, grants don’t need to be repaid. Think of them as gifts with some requirements attached. You still need to meet the program’s eligibility requirements or fulfill certain conditions to receive them.

Low-Interest Loans – For many homebuyers, a low mortgage payment can significantly improve their monthly budget. Low-interest loans are exactly what they sound like home loans with lower-than-average interest rates that deliver the benefit of a low monthly payment.

Zero-Interest, Forgivable Loans – If you plan to live in your home for a while, a forgivable loan could be a great fit. After a set number of years–usually 5, but up to 20, lenders will forgive these loans entirely. But if you move out before the forgiveness period ends, you may need to pay back some or all of the loan. Visit Security National Mortgage Company’s website for details.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs, give us a call. Although we aren’t mortgage professionals, we are happy to refer you to several lenders who will gladly explain the terms of these home loan programs.


3 things you must know about buying a newly-constructed home

Home builders are back at work! In fact, according to the Census Bureau, permits for single-family homes increased 7.6% in February over January.

This is not surprising when we take into account the demand for homes of any age and the statistics that show 60% of homebuyers “…prefer a new construction home over an existing home.”

If this includes you, we’d like to share several aspects of new-home shopping and purchasing that you may not know.

1. The new-home mortgage

Just as when you purchase a pre-owned home, you’ll need to visit a lender for mortgage pre-approval consideration. This way you’ll not only know for certain that you can get a home loan, but also the amount you’ll be receiving, which helps you avoid looking at homes that are out of your price range.

Most new-home builders have established relationships with their own  “preferred lenders.” Depending on the builder you speak with, you may feel pressured to use that particular lender.

“The builder may make it seem like you have to use their preferred lender, but you always have the option to finance your home with someone else,” according to the experts at Better Mortgage.

“It’s often in the builder’s best interest for you to partner with their preferred lender, but it may not be in yours,” they conclude.

You may, on the other hand, get a better deal with the builder’s preferred mortgage company. That’s why it pays to shop around before settling on one.

2. Get your own real estate agent

The first person you’ll meet when you visit a new-home community will most likely be the builder’s real estate agent. Even though he or she may be a very nice person and knowledgeable about the homes and the community, resist any pressure to allow the agent to represent you in your purchase.

The builder’s agent represents the seller, the builder in this case. It’s important for you to have your own representation as well.

Since a buyer’s agent costs you nothing (the builder pays the buyer’s agent commission) you have nothing to lose and lots of protection to gain by working with your own agent who is looking out for your best interests.

3. How will you deal with deciding between standard options and upgrades?

The interior of the home will come with what are known as “standard” options. You will also be offered a choice of upgrades for most of these options.

If you fell in love with the model homes, you’ll pay a pretty penny to recreate them because they’re all furnished with upgrades.

Examples of standard vs. upgrade include:

  • Standard vs. high-end cabinets
  • Neutral paint colors vs. specialty paint colors
  • Carpet vs. wood floors

Keep in mind that upgrades are going to increase the sticker price on your home. Sometime significantly so.

This is where your buyer’s agent will be extra helpful. As you tour the design center and come across an upgrade you like, ask your agent if the upgrade is worth the investment and whether you’re likely to see a return when you sell the house.

You might also consider reaching out to vendors directly because you may get these upgrades after closing for much less than what the builder would charge. It’ll be even cheaper if you’re handy and can install the updates yourself.

This said, upgrading a kitchen (or bathroom) is not an especially easy project and — let’s be honest — do you really want to move into a brand-new home and already feel like your kitchen needs renovating? In some cases, it may be worth the splurge to get the materials and appliances you really want from the outset.

To help you make up your mind, visit this blog post at

We can help you navigate the new construction waters and bring you to a successful close on your brand-new home. Feel free to reach out to us.


It’s important to know who will most likely buy your starter home

Before putting your home on the market, it’s important to focus on who your likely buyer will be. Now, you don’t necessarily need a crystal ball to figure this out; statistics abound on what different types of buyers are looking for, both in a home and a neighborhood.

Then, there are the basic needs that seem to cut across all demographics. Once you have a clear picture of your likely buyer, we can better focus our marketing efforts.

The first-time buyer

Believe it or not, despite still-inflated prices and higher interest rates than we’ve grown accustomed to, the Associated Press reports that homeowners with starter homes are still experiencing multiple offers from buyers.

The buyers included many first-time buyers who accounted for 28% of home sales in March.

Naturally, if you own a starter home, you’ll want to cater to these buyers.

A dedicated laundry room tops the list of what these folks want most in a home. If your home boasts one, staging it to appeal to these buyers will have them clamoring for your home.

Consider adding shelving and other storage solutions. If space permits, a laundry-folding table will be a hit with buyers.

Don’t be surprised if baby boomers fall in love with your home

Baby boomers are large and in charge in the current market. For years their number of homebuyers was swamped by Millennials but not anymore. Nearly half of homebuyers are among the older generation.

Luckily, for home sellers who plan on staging to appeal to their target market, boomers want a lot of the same things as Millennials. This includes:

  • Laundry room
  • Hardwood floors
  • Open floor plan
  • Outdoor space

There are a few minor differences, however. Boomers crave one-level living and aren’t at all interested in a basement, Paul Emrath with the National Association of Home Builders tells Michele Lerner at

He goes on to claim that this cohort is looking for a patio, a “small private yard” and an outdoor kitchen.

Tip: Energy efficiency, especially when it comes to heating and cooling costs, is a homebuyer hot button, so if you’ve made any improvements in that area, they will make perfect marketing points.

The time to get the home on the market is a.s.a.p.

Now that you understand who will be attracted to your home, get it on the market as soon as you can.

What’s the rush?

Home prices may be about to plunge, according to PNC Bank’s Senior Economist, Abbey Omodunbi. She tells Yahoo Finance Live that they “… are forecasting that we are going to get a 10% decline in house prices this year.”

“There will be more of a balance in the housing market. There will be less demand and more supply. And that will contribute to the decline in house prices,” she concluded.

If you hope to get the maximum amount of profit that you can from the sale of your home, you may be disappointed if you wait too much longer.

Questions? Feel free to reach out. We’re always happy to help.


Selling your home? Check out the 5 best home fixes for the money

A client called recently with a question that we frequently field: “We plan on putting our home up for sale next month and we’re wondering, aside from cleaning the home really well, are there any repairs that sellers commonly overlook? We want to make sure that the house is ready to sell for our price.”

Certain repairs simply must be made before putting your home on the market. A leaky roof, broken windows and an inoperable furnace aren’t going to fly with buyers. Other fixes, however, aren’t as important but they may help sell the house.

“You want to spend as little as you possibly can on the improvements that make the most sense, and ignore the ones that you’re really dreaming about because you’ll never get your money back,” Barbara Corcoran tells The Today Show.

First impressions matter

One of the best fixes you can make for the money is anything that is wrong with the home’s exterior, visible from the street. In other words, give the place some curb appeal by fixing all of the following:

  • Sagging and/or torn window and front-door screens
  • Peeling paint on railings or trim
  • Leaves, weeds in the gutters
  • Dead or dying landscaping
  • Dirty windows

Consider giving the front door a fresh coat of paint, adding a new welcome mat, new house numbers and freshening up the mailbox.

If the lawn is beyond help, installing sod will give the home’s exterior instant curb appeal. Keep in mind that “You can lay sod anytime during the growing season, although spring and early autumn are best—cool temperatures combined with occasional rain help sod quickly root,” suggests Viveka Neveln, garden editor at Better Homes and Garden.

What’s underfoot?

Unless they’re high-end and impeccably clean, it may be worth it to remove the carpets and install luxury vinyl plank flooring.


Not only has vinyl plank flooring landed at the top of the majority of young homebuyers’ wish lists, but “Homes with luxury vinyl flooring in the listing description can sell for 1.7 percent more and nearly 4 days faster than expected,” claims Terri Williams at

To put it in ROI terms, the experts at has “… the average homeowner paying $2,433 for vinyl …” flooring. The ROI on this project is more than $3500. 

Walls and Baseboards

New paint on the walls is an inexpensive way to completely change a room from dull and outdated to fresh and contemporary. Since you’re trying to sell your home and not prepare it for its 15 minutes of fame on HGTV, stick to neutral colors.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to stick with the boring beige or even white. Neutral colors that are attractive on walls include different shades of gray or a gray-blue, a muted robin’s egg blue-green and some of the beige shades that lean to the color of café au lait.

Yes, they’re close to the ground and it’s easy to think that nobody notices them, but baseboards grab attention – especially if they are clean or freshly painted. Sometimes all it takes is a swipe with a Magic Eraser to remove the scuffs. If you paint the walls, don’t neglect the baseboards.

Lighten and brighten

Dim houses feel closed-in while light and bright spaces make the home look larger. There are lots of ways to fix a dark home. Open all the window coverings before a showing and wash the windows to let in as much natural light as possible.

If you’ll be marketing the home when the weather turns gloomy, consider buying new light fixtures and lamps. It may seem like an expensive undertaking but consider this: New lighting increases the home’s perceived value for buyers.

Fix plumbing problems

Leaky faucets and running toilets tell buyers two things: the home hasn’t been maintained and there may be a big repair bill down the line.

Minor plumbing repairs aren’t difficult to do yourself if you have the proper tools. Otherwise hire a plumber or handyman to fix the leaks and drips before the house goes on the market.

These are just a few minor fixes you may want to perform, before listing your home for sale. Take a walk around both the outside and the inside of your home and try to see it through a stranger’s eyes. You’ll be surprised what will catch your attention and, perhaps, make it onto your repair list.

It’s homebuying season and here’s what’s happening in the market

Yes, the housing market is confusing right now. Questions abound. Read on for some information that may help clear up some of the confusion.

The mortgage rate roller coaster

Will rates go up or down? That seems to be the question at the top of the list for homebuyers and sellers alike.

“Rates for home loans are still caught in a tug-of-war between high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s actions to restrain inflation, which often indirectly pushes long-term mortgage rates higher,” explains Robin Rothstein at

The suggestion for homebuyers is to be prepared to jump into the market when there is enough of a dip in rates for them to be able to afford a home.

Ready for some forecasts from the experts?

  • Freddie Mac foresees a 6.2% rate for a 30-year mortgage by the fourth quarter of 2023.
  • A bit more optimistic is Compass U.S. president, Neda Navab. “A sustained drop [in U.S. Treasury yields] could push mortgage rates into the 5% range late in the second quarter or in the second half of 2023, but that’s definitely not guaranteed.”
  • “If inflation continues to slow down—and this is what we expect for 2023—mortgage rates may stabilize below 6% in 2023,” forecasts Nadia Evangelou, National Association of Realtors (NAR) senior economist.

When it comes to the current economy, with its multitude of moving parts, it’s wise to take any forecasts with a grain of salt. But do keep an eye on the economy if you hope to jump into the housing market quickly.

How’s the inventory of available homes looking?

The inventory of available homes dropped again and new listing activity is at all-time lows, according to Logan Mohtashami at Despite this, the homes that are on the market are selling quickly in many markets across the country.

These homes, by the way, are the turnkey style, in good condition with loads of curb appeal and in high demand. The fixers, the overpriced homes and those that aren’t appealing are sitting on the market.

In a nutshell? “Buyers can expect a shortage of well-priced, turnkey homes—and plenty of competition for the few that go up for sale,” according to Clare Trapasso at

And home prices?

This seems to be the question that is top-of-mind for many buyers and sellers. The good news is that home prices dropped 12% “… to $363,000 in February from $413,800 last June,” says Dan Weil at Should we expect additional drops?

Mortgage rates can make or break a market. When they drop, markets turn “hot.” When they rise, activity slows way down; the inventory of available homes dries up and prices rise.

Here’s what the experts are forecasting when it comes to home prices:

  • “… how much further home prices dip in 2023 will likely depend on where mortgage rates go.” (Forbes)
  • “On a national basis, we expect home prices to decline about 4% both in 2023 and in 2024,” Moody’s analysts said. (The Street)
  • “By February 2024, the analysts at CoreLogic expect home prices to increase year over year by 3.7%.” (Business Insider)
  • The National Association of REALTORS predicts that home prices will be once again on the rise, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2023.

As you can see, the experts are as conflicted as the rest of us.

For buyers, the time to jump back into the market is when interest rates fit your comfort zone and before prices rise again.

The best thing you can do right now is get pre-approved for a mortgage, look into down payment assistance programs if you need help and keep an eye right here. We’ll keep you posted on what’s happening in the market.

How to buy a home after bankruptcy

The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy increased 20% this past January compared to January 2022.

There are a number of reasons for the increase, according to economists. Topping the list is the “end of pandemic funding,” but “… rising interest rates and high inflation continue to stress household budgets,” says Kristopher J. Brooks with Money Watch at

Tens of thousands of Americans went through the process, came out the other side and are chomping at the bit to buy a home. Let’s take a look at some answers to the more common questions about buying a home after bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy and your credit score

Yes, the fact that you discharged your debts in bankruptcy will end up on your credit reports and lower your credit score. In fact, your score may fall more than 200 points, according to Barry Paperno at

“But for people in dire straits, bankruptcy is a last resort that can help them liquidate assets, discard or pay off debts, and get some financial relief.” In other words, it’s a good option if you’ve nowhere else to turn.

You are now considered a subprime borrower and will pay more for any credit that you receive, initially. To build a new credit rating, however, you will need to responsibly use credit, such as credit cards.

So, how long will this take?

The length of time it will take to purchase a new home after bankruptcy varies. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your record for 10 years. A chapter 13, on the other hand, “… generally remains for seven years from the filing date,” claim the experts at Find out the difference between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy at

Then, there’s another waiting period, depending on the type of loan you choose.

If you used a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you’ll need to wait four years from the date the bankruptcy was discharged if you want a conventional loan.

If you will be pursuing a loan backed by the FHA or VA you’ll have a two-year wait. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are a bit different, but you’ll find the answer to your questions at the aforementioned Rocket Mortgage link.

How long you’ll wait to buy that home also depends on how much you want to pay for the mortgage. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you’ll be offered. Borrowers with a FICO score of 620 to 639 pay, on average, 1.5 to 2 percent more interest on a mortgage loan than borrowers at the top of the FICO score range (760 to 850).

Once upon a time, a person that went bankrupt might have been forced to wear a basket over his head while in public, be thrown into debtor’s prison or even end up as a slave and sold at auction to the highest bidder. Although today’s penalty isn’t quite so harsh physically, it may be emotionally draining to be unable to obtain credit for an extended period of time.

Thankfully, with strategic planning, some hard work and the right lender, you will be able to purchase a home sooner rather than later.

We are not legal, mortgage or financial professionals, and the information provided in this blog post is for general education purposes only and is not intended to constitute specialist or personal advice.