Pikes Peak Homes and Land
Chris J Clark, REALTOR®
Broker/Owner
Phone (719) 464-5839
Chris@PPHAL.com

Blog

Baby Boomers’ Wave to Downsize

As the first groups of baby boomers gracefully rides the wave of aging, they are setting new trends in the housing market, giving birth to what experts fondly refer to as the “Silver Tsunami.” This phenomenon is not merely about a change in address; it’s a lifestyle transformation tailored to meet the unique needs of the golden years.

With approximately 10,000 people reaching the age of 65 every day, the United States is witnessing an unprecedented demographic shift. By 2030, all baby boomers will have passed this milestone. Among these remarkable statistics, the AARP’s estimate stands out: a staggering 74% of total U.S. homeownership belongs to individuals over 50, with more than half of this demographic opting for downsizing their home as a strategic move.

The Silver Tsunami is, in essence, a testament to the demographic strength of the baby boomer generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation has played a pivotal role in shaping American society at every stage of life. Now, as they embrace their senior years, they are reshaping the real estate landscape. Downsizing has become a prevailing trend among this generation.

One of the fundamental aspects of this is the desire for aging Americans to remain in their homes, a concept known as “aging in place.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean staying in the same large family home that has seen decades of memories. Instead, it often involves downsizing to a more manageable, efficient, and accessible living space.

The statistics are a testament to the appeal of downsizing among this generation. AARP estimates that a whopping 74% of homeownership in the United States is held by individuals over the age of 50. Additionally, more than 51% of people in this age group have already made the move to downsize.

The reasons behind this paradigm shift are as diverse as the individuals making it happen. For some, it’s about financial prudence … reducing the costs and maintenance associated with larger homes. For others, it’s the desire for a simpler, more manageable lifestyle that allows them to focus on experiences rather than possessions. Accessibility and health concerns also play a significant role, with many opting for homes that are designed to accommodate mobility challenges.

Downsizing is having a profound impact on the housing market. It’s not just about the scaling down trend; it’s also about the types of homes that are in high demand. Single-story residences, condos, and communities with amenities tailored to an active older population are experiencing increased interest. Builders and real estate developers are adapting to these evolving preferences, creating more accessible, age-friendly housing options.

It is not merely a demographic shift; it’s a testament to the baby boomer generation’s determination to embrace their golden years on their terms. Downsizing is just one facet of this multifaceted trend, and it’s changing the way we think about aging and housing. As the silver wave continues to ripple through the real estate market, it’s essential for homeowners and industry professionals alike to be aware of these evolving preferences.

One way to find out about your options is to determine the value of your current home and its equity to facilitate the change in housing.  Contact us to provide this service at no obligation as well as to inform you what is available to meet your wants and needs.

Smart Home Tech: Is It Real Property or Personal Belongings in a Home Sale?

Many of today’s homeowners have accumulated multiple high-tech “smart” devices to make their home more convenient, economical, and fun to operate.  When they decide to sell the home, they need to make the listing agent completely aware of whether they will be included in the sale of the home. 

Some of these things easily meet the definition of real property because they are permanently installed like thermostats, doorbells, cameras, garage door openers, and pool equipment monitors.  A rule of thumb mentioned frequently is that if it were removed, the functionality would cease or if there would be evidence of where it had been, it is probably real property and is included in the sale.

Other devices like virtual assistants made by Amazon, Apple, or Google, may not specifically meet that criteria but they are needed to operate things like electrical switches and plugs, or lamps.  It becomes a grey area of whether it is real property when TV’s, doorbells, garage door openers, and other devices are dependent on the virtual assistants.

Door locks, as well as some other devices, have a master code written on them that allows the new owner to reset the combination ensuring not only their safety but potential liability for the seller.  In some cases, the seller will need to do this using the app on their computer or phone while it is still connected to their home network.  It may be prudent to arrange a time for the seller to reset the devices in question for the buyers’ convenience and security.

Smart home additions could easily be a selling point for potential buyers and sellers need to weigh the benefits of promoting the advantages of such and including those items in the sale of the home.

Make an inventory of what devices stay with the home and what needs to be done to reset them for the new owner.  This could be done at the time of listing the home and given to the listing agent at the same time the listing agreement is signed. Your listing agent will know how to handle it, but decisions must be made before the home is put on the market or it is shown to any prospective purchasers.

Leverage your home’s equity into rental property

There can be many reasons homeowners aspire to have their home paid for.  They can include no mortgage payments, financial security, debt reduction, lower expenses, retirement planning, financial freedom, legacy planning, no risk of foreclosure, and reduced stress, just to name a few.

All those things have a cost attached to them which is the loss of the earning power which is tied up in an asset that only benefits the owner by appreciation.  In the past few years since the pandemic began, homeowners have experienced a dramatic increase in equity due to appreciation.

As an example, let’s set up a comparison of how the yield on equity decreases as the property appreciates.  A homeowner has a debt-free home worth $400,000 that is expected to appreciate at 4% a year for the next five years. The future value of the home would be $486,661 and the owner would have earned a 4% return on his investment in the property.

In scenario #2, the homeowner refinances the property today for 80% of its value at 7% interest for 30-years.  At the end of the five years, the property is still worth $486,661 and his unpaid balance on the mortgage would be $338,874. The $80,000 equity would have grown to $147,787 earning him an annual return on investment of 13.06%.  The leverage of the borrowed funds caused the owner in this example to triple his yield.

Let’s not forget the $320,000 cash out that the owner received when he refinanced the home.  If that was invested in rental real estate, he may be able to buy three to four more properties with 80% mortgages and increase his yield even more.

There is a lot more to a total analysis of a situation like this because rental properties have income and tax advantages that are not relative to a principal residence.  What is possible for the homeowner with this type of asset in their home, is to free up a major portion of the cash and reinvest it.

Having equity gives a homeowner many benefits including financial freedom and security, peace of mind, and the option to pull money out, tax free, to invest in rental property to increase their wealth position.

To learn more about rental property, download our Rental Income Properties and then, schedule a time when we can get together to explore options.  We can start with a Home Equity Review to see what kind of funds may be available based on the current value of your home and its unpaid balance and then talk about how rental property could help you with your financial goals.

Adapting to Life’s New Chapters

All of us encounter major life events and they have the possibility of disrupting our lives temporarily, if not permanently.  The homes we live in may have met our needs originally but due to a change in our life, it may no longer be adequate or the best fit for us, which will require a move. The decision to change one’s living situation often comes as a response to these pivotal moments, and the reasons behind such changes can be as diverse as the events themselves. 

The number of things that can influence these changes is numerous.  It may be the birth of a new child, or the ages of the children are getting such that you simply need more room. Marriages generally merge two households into one.  The possibilities are endless, but it could be two single people or two single parents each with children who need the right space to blend the families.A promotion, transfer, or a new job could require a change in housing, or maybe just make it more convenient to move closer to where a person is working. Countless numbers of people have moved as a result of health issues.  It could be to get away from the altitude, or to a drier climate, or to a more rural area where life is simpler.  The death of a spouse can be the impetus for the move.Empty nesters and retirees have the freedom to make changes to their housing that will better adapt to their new lifestyle.  The time may have come to seek a cozier, more manageable abode that suits the evolving needs of empty nesters.  It may or may not lead them to a new city or state, but it can certainly include a different size or style home than they have currently.These are just a few examples of how major life events can set the stage for changes in housing. If you are considering a move for one of these reasons now, you will probably think about it at some point.  We can help you through today’s market, talk about timing, and guide you through the decision-making process.We want to be your trusted agent, ready to support you finding your dream home as you start this new chapter in your life. Take the first step, when the time is right, by connecting with us.

The relationship between home ownership and net worth

During the span between 2019 and 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted both society and economic activities. Nevertheless, the latest Survey of Consumer Finance, which has recently been unveiled, highlights widespread enhancements in the financial well-being of American families during this timeframe, especially concerning their net worth.

The median net worth of homeowners increased 37%, after adjustment for inflation, between 2019 and 2022.  This is the largest three-year increase in the history of the modern Federal Reserve Board’s triennial survey dating back to 1989 and more than twice the next largest one on record.

The survey showed increases in both median and mean net worth were near universal across different types of families, grouped by either economic or demographic characteristics.

For families who owned a home, the median net housing value, the value of the home, less secured debt, increased 44% between the same three-year period.  The median homeowner has a net worth of $396,000 compared to approximately $10,400 for renters making the net worth of a homeowner 38 times the household wealth of a renter according to the latest data.

Housing wealth, in this study, represented on average approximately 75% of the total assets of the lowest income household.  In the middle-income distribution, housing wealth represents between 48% and 74% of total assets.  For the top 10% of the income distribution, the wealthiest households’ share was 33%.  The study suggested that as income and net worth increases, the diversification of investments increases.

Even though there was significant increase in the value of homeowners’ property during this period, the debt secured by the residential property was relatively unchanged and the median amount of this debt decreased by less than one percent to $155,600 in 2022.  During the same period credit card debt was stable.

Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American, summarized by saying “For the majority of households that transition into homeownership, the most recent data reinforces that housing is one of the biggest positive drivers of wealth creation in this country.”

Starting in 2022, mortgage rates more than doubled the rates during the fall of 2021 and continued to rise throughout 2022 and most of 2023 to the high 7% range which the market had not reached for 30 years.  This rate affected buyers’ affordability and challenged a belief that rates would stay low since they had been for over ten years after the Great Financial Crisis.

While homeownership is still a major part of the “American Dream”, would-be buyers are having to adapt to the higher rates.  And even if rates moderate during 2024, the low housing inventory experienced across the country will continue to increase prices which favors current homeowners.  It could take years to reach a balanced market.

The challenged buyers should remember that homes have appreciated 5.56% annually for the last sixty years.  The average mortgage rate in the same period is 7.74%. 

Based on the impressive margin that homeowners have 38 times more net worth than renters and that the contributing factor is the home’s equity, Buyers who can financially afford to buy now should investigate exactly what it will take to get into a home now.

Download our Buyers Guide.

Understanding Credit Life Insurance for Home Buyers

Credit life insurance is a specialized type of insurance designed to provide financial protection for borrowers and their families in the event of the borrower’s untimely death. This insurance is often associated with loans, including mortgages, and is specifically tied to the outstanding balance of the loan. In the case of a home purchase, credit life insurance will cover the remaining mortgage balance if the homeowner passes away before the loan is fully paid off.

In some cases, lenders may include the expense of credit life insurance in your loan principal. This arrangement means that you’ll accrue interest on the combined amount, potentially resulting in increased costs over time. Consequently, opting for traditional life insurance, as opposed to credit life insurance, might be a more financially prudent choice to protect your family’s financial well-being.

Credit life insurance offers peace of mind to homeowners, knowing that their loved ones won’t be burdened with mortgage payments in case of an unexpected tragedy.  It can be a safeguard for their loved ones from inheriting the mortgage debt in the event of their death. It ensures that the home loan is paid off, preventing financial strain on surviving family members.

Some lenders may require or recommend credit life insurance as part of the loan approval process, making it easier for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage but it is not typically mandatory, and the borrower usually has the option to request its removal from the loan agreement. 

Advantages of Regular Life Insurance:

While credit life insurance serves a specific purpose, there are advantages to opting for a regular life insurance policy instead:

  • Regular life insurance provides a broader range of coverage beyond mortgage debt. It offers financial protection to beneficiaries for various needs, such as income replacement, education, and long-term financial security.
  • Unlike credit life insurance, which is tied to a specific loan, regular life insurance can be used to address multiple financial goals and needs, making it a versatile option.
  • Regular life insurance remains in force regardless of changes in your mortgage or loan status. It can be maintained even if you refinance, pay off your mortgage, or move.
  • Some life insurance policies, such as whole life or universal life, offer a cash value component that can grow over time, potentially providing additional financial benefits.
  • With regular life insurance, you have the flexibility to choose any beneficiary, not just the lender, ensuring your loved ones are financially protected.

Credit life insurance can provide a valuable safety net for homebuyers by addressing their mortgage debt in the event of their passing. However, it’s essential to consider the broader financial needs of your family and explore regular life insurance options, which offer more extensive coverage and flexibility. Ultimately, the choice between credit life insurance and regular life insurance should align with your specific financial goals and priorities.

Discover how to make a difference in your neighborhood

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or just starting this thrilling chapter, every time you turn your key, you’re not just entering a house but also embedding yourself in a neighborhood. The heartbeat of a vibrant community doesn’t solely rest upon pristine lawns or architectural beauty, but predominantly on its residents, wonderful folks like you! Consider these suggestions to enjoy your new neighborhood and actively contributing to making it a wonderful place to live.

Foster Connection – Begin your journey by fostering connections. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, participate in or organize social events, and involve yourself in local gatherings, HOA, Next Door, or forums. Establishing a network of friendly faces creates a sense of belonging and shared responsibility towards the well-being of the neighborhood.

Create a Safe Environment – A safe community is a serene community. Be mindful of adhering to speed limits while driving through your neighborhood, watch out for children playing, and consider organizing or participating in a neighborhood watch program. Ensuring that everyone feels secure enhances the quality of life for all residents.

Champion Cleanliness and Green Practices – Your new neighborhood is an extension of your home. Engage in and advocate for practices like regular clean-up drives, recycling initiatives, and maintaining green spaces. Planting trees or creating communal gardens can be wonderful projects that not only beautify the area but also instigate sustainable living.

Support Local Businesses – Frequent local shops, cafes, and services to boost the neighborhood’s economy. Supporting local businesses fosters a self-sustaining community, often making it more attractive to future residents and other local entrepreneurs.

Volunteer and Offer Support – Whether it’s helping a neighbor with yard work or volunteering in local schools, your acts of kindness will ripple through the community, establishing a culture of support and assistance that enriches everyone’s lives.

Organize and Participate in Events – From block parties to garage sales, events can add vivacity to any neighborhood. They provide a platform for residents to mingle, forge friendships, and create cherished memories, threading a fabric of unity and camaraderie.

Respectful Living – Being mindful and considerate of your neighbors is foundational. Adhere to noise guidelines, maintain your property, and respect shared spaces. A culture of mutual respect enhances peaceful co-existence and cultivates a harmonious environment.

Advocate for Improvements – If you observe areas for improvement, like a need for better street lighting or safer playgrounds, take the initiative. Work with local authorities, attend town meetings, or organize petitions to facilitate beneficial changes.

In contributing towards shaping a great neighborhood, you’re not only enhancing your living experience but also elevating the quality of life for existing and future residents. Your active involvement, care, and initiatives sow the seeds for a community where everyone enjoys a sense of belonging, security, and joy in their daily lives. After all, the richest neighborhoods are those woven with the threads of unity, understanding, and collective effort. So, embrace your role and be the beacon that lights up your community with positivity and progress!

How Home Value Growth Beats Renting

Over the last 60 years, the average sales price of homes has appreciated at a rate of 5.56% annually, according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data. During the same period, rent has increased at a rate of 3.88% annually which presents a compelling argument in favor of home ownership.

When we analyze these figures, it becomes evident that homes have not only appreciated in value at a faster rate than the increase in rental costs, but they have also provided homeowners with a substantial asset that builds equity over time. This discrepancy in growth rates means that, in the long run, homeowners are likely to experience a greater return on their investment compared to renters.

Renters, while they may have the flexibility of moving without the ties of property ownership and might have lower upfront costs, do not gain any equity from their monthly payments. Their money goes straight to their landlord, and they are subject to the annual increases in rent. Over time, as rent continues to rise, renters might find themselves allocating a larger portion of their income to housing expenses compared to homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages, whose monthly payments remain constant.

Homeowners, on the other hand, can lock in their housing costs, particularly if they have a fixed-rate mortgage. Even as the value of their property increases, their monthly mortgage principal and interest payments remain steady. Furthermore, as they pay down their mortgage, they build equity in their home, which becomes a valuable asset. This asset can be leveraged for other financial opportunities, such as funding education, investing, or purchasing additional property.

In addition, homeowners can capitalize on the tax benefits associated with mortgage interest and property tax deductions, and potential capital gains exclusions, which can contribute to the overall financial advantage of home ownership.

In conclusion, while renting may offer flexibility and potentially lower upfront costs, home ownership presents a compelling long-term financial opportunity. The significant difference in the annual growth rates of home prices and rent over the past 60 years underscores the potential for wealth accumulation and financial stability that comes with investing in real estate and the equity building that comes with home ownership.

Download our Buyers Guide and consider getting together with your agent to get the facts of today’s market.

Bridging Wealth Gaps: Home Ownership’s Stand Against Inflation

When exploring the benefits of home ownership, it’s more than just having a place to call your own. Among its many advantages, home ownership stands as a formidable safeguard against inflation and a strong vehicle for long-term wealth accumulation. This article will delve into the dynamics of appreciation and amortization, explaining why owning a home can be one of the most impactful financial decisions you can make.

Inflation, the overall upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, erodes the purchasing power of money. In simpler terms, as inflation rises, each dollar you have buys a smaller percentage of a good or service.  The same inflation that is driving rising mortgage rates is putting upward pressure on home prices.

Over the past sixty years, homes have appreciated in value at an annual appreciation rate of 5.56% according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data.  As a homeowner, you want to benefit from the appreciation.  Inflation for the same period averaged 3.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics) making homes an effective hedge against inflation.

Real estate, unlike many other assets, is a tangible, real asset. History has shown that over the long term, the value of real assets tends to rise at a rate that at least matches, if not outpaces, inflation. So, as the price of goods and services increases, so does the value of real estate, making homeownership a strategic move against inflationary pressures.

With a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly principal and interest payment remains constant. As a result, while other costs may rise due to inflation, your primary housing cost (if you exclude taxes and maintenance) remains stable, shielding you from the full impact of inflation.

Home appreciation refers to the increase in the home’s value over time. Given the finite nature of land and the ever-growing demand for housing, especially in thriving areas, real estate often appreciates. This appreciation can result in substantial equity gains for homeowners, creating a form of ‘forced savings’ and making it a powerful tool for wealth accumulation.

Amortization has been considered the silent wealth builder.  Each time you make a mortgage payment, a portion of that payment goes toward the loan’s interest, and the rest pays down the principal, thus retiring your debt incrementally. This process means you’re gradually building equity in the home with each payment. Over time, a larger portion of your payment goes towards the principal, accelerating your equity buildup.

Combined, appreciation and amortization can lead to significant wealth growth for homeowners. As the home’s value rises and the mortgage balance decreases, homeowners often find themselves sitting on a substantial asset, which can be leveraged in various ways, from securing loans to planning retirements.

While the emotional and social benefits of homeownership are often celebrated, the financial benefits are equally compelling. In a world of economic uncertainties and inflationary pressures, owning a home emerges not just as a source of stability but also as a strategy for long-term financial prosperity. By understanding and leveraging the twin forces of appreciation and amortization, homeowners can pave a path to meaningful wealth accumulation even during periods of relatively high mortgage rates.

Navigating Closing Costs During Your Home Sale

Buying or selling a house is an exciting and sometimes confusing experience that includes expenses called “closing costs” that can often catch us by surprise. Closing costs are simply the fees and expenses incurred by buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction’s closing or settlement process. 

Typical closing costs can vary depending on what is customary in an area, the mortgage type, property value, and other factors.  The largest expenses can be the real estate commission and the title policy.  Total closing costs for a buyer can characteristically range from 2% – 5%  of the sales price and 4% – 7% for a seller.

The most common buyer’s closing costs include loan origination fee, title insurance, attorney fees, appraisal, homeowner’s insurance, underwriting, miscellaneous fees associated with a new mortgage, and prepaid interest to the end of the month.

Interest is paid in arrears on mortgages after the borrower has used the money.  The payment due on the first of the month pays the interest for the previous month and is calculated for a full month.  The prepaid interest covers the time from the closing date to the end of that month.  The borrower’s first payment will usually not be the first of the month following the closing date but the next one.

Separate from the closing costs, lenders usually itemize the additional fees collected at closing used to pre-pay portions of the property taxes and insurance to establish the escrow account.  Insurance is always purchased annually in advance which would be due at closing.

The seller will owe the taxes from January 1st to the closing date, and it will generally show as a credit to the buyer if they haven’t been paid to the taxing authority for the year yet.  Lenders generally like to have two months of funds for the annual insurance and taxes so they can be paid or renewed before it is due.

Some expenses are paid outside of closing like the inspection fees that would be due to the provider at the time they are made.

While both buyers and sellers are responsible for paying certain closing costs, it is possible for a buyer to negotiate for a seller to pay part or all their closing costs.  VA loans restrict the buyer from paying certain fees and they become the responsibility of the seller.  Such fees include attorney fees, agent fees, escrow fees to establish the account, rate lock fees, appraisal fees or inspections ordered by the lender.

The actual expenses will be determined by the lender and special provisions in the sales contract. Your agent can supply you with an estimate of closing costs you typically will be responsible for at the beginning of the transaction and again at the time the sales contract is written.  Buyers will receive an estimate from their lender at the time of application.