Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

Forbes.com recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison and it rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. The full results can be seen in the map below.

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

Bottom Line

The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of one’s own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying and selling process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Designations: 
Certified Probate Real Estate Expert (CPRES)
Seniors (50+) Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA)
Certified Staging Consultant (CSC)
Internet Marketing Expert (e-PRO)

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to find your dream home.

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying and selling process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Designations: 
Certified Probate Real Estate Expert (CPRES)
Seniors (50+) Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA)
Certified Staging Consultant (CSC)
Internet Marketing Expert (e-PRO)

First Comes Love….Then Comes Mortgage?

According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2016 at 58% of all buyers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable.

But, many couples are also deciding to buy a home before spending what would be a down payment on a wedding, as unmarried couples made up 14% of all first-time buyers last year.

If you’re single, don’t fret! Single women made up 18% of first-time buyers in 2016, while single men accounted for 8% of buyers. One recent article pointed to a sense of responsibility and commitment that drives many single women to want to own their home, rather than rent.

Here is the breakdown of all first-time homebuyers in 2016 by percentage of all buyers, income, and age:

Bottom Line

You may not be that much different than those who have already purchased their first homes. Let’s get together to determine if your dream home is already within your grasp!

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying and selling process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Designations: 
Certified Probate Real Estate Expert (CPRES)
Seniors (50+) Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA)
Certified Staging Consultant (CSC)
Internet Marketing Expert (e-PRO)

 

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties!

Highlights:

  • Watching the Big Game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
  • The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!
About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying and selling process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Designations: 
Certified Probate Real Estate Expert (CPRES)
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA)
Certified Staging Consultant (CSC)
Internet Marketing Expert (e-PRO)

Thank You For Your Support!

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About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step!

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In many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well. I can put you in touch with a lender! Call or text me today!

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market

201660826-stm-eng-1046x1641Some Highlights:

  • The concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low & demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to outpace Seller Supply!
About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Four Reasons to Buy This Summer!

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Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market in many areas of the country! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 5.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. TheMortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Sales at Highest Pace in 9 Years!

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Some Highlights:

  • Sales of existing homes reached the highest annual pace in over 9 years at 5.29 million.
  • Inventory remains below the 6-month norm and prices are still on the rise.
  • Interest rates are at a historic low of 3.48%.
About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

Tips for Surviving Moving Day

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Got a new job? Work relocating you? Or maybe you just want a change of scenery–whatever the reason for your upcoming move, make sure to follow these handy tips so you can stay one step ahead AND keep your sanity.

Use it or lose it

Get a jump-start on packing in the months leading up to your move by employing a “use it or lose it” mentality. In addition to forcing you to identify your must-keep belongings, it helps you use up a lot of excess items like frozen foods, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, toiletries and other items that don’t pack well. This is also a good method to keep in mind as you sort through clothes, handbags, bedding and other things that have been forgotten.

Pack by room

It may be tempting to put all your pictures into one box, but experts say people keep track of their belongings best by remembering where they were in the house. Utilize this same memory trick and box your home according to room. Another helpful trick is to color code boxes using bright moving stickers so you can immediately identify which boxes belong to which room. This will also help you stay organized, especially in the aftermath of moving.

Not all boxes are created equal

Choosing the right box is crucial to moving efficiently and ensuring your possessions stay safe over the long journey. Heavy things like books should go in smaller boxes with sturdy sides and edges. This makes them more manageable to carry. Lighter items like clothes, bedding and pillows should go in large boxes. Use medium-sized boxes for things like kitchen appliances, toys and electronics.

Moving with pets

To ensure their safety, put animals in a blocked off area (using a baby gate) so they become a spectator of the action yet safely out of the commotion. Putting them in an isolated room could cause them further stress since they know something is happening and can’t see it. Make sure they have food, water and, of course, their favorite toys to keep them occupied.

Hopefully these tips will minimize the stress for everyone involved.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com