June is National Homeownership Month, and the industry is recognizing the importance of homeownership as a milestone of the American Dream.
This year’s theme, set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is “Find Your Place.” HUD is one of many agencies that provide resources to help consumers obtain and sustain homeownership. Through its network of housing agencies, consumers can seek out counselors for homeowner education, foreclosure prevention and budgeting assistance. With mortgage options through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), consumers with low credit or low-down payment funds can reach their homeownership goals faster—a significant method of aid for millennials and upcoming buyer generations flooded with student loans, making it difficult to amass the funds needed for conventional financing. According to HUD, over 47 million homeowners since 1934 purchased a home with a mortgage insured by FHA, and around 40 percent of all borrowers purchase their first home using an FHA loan.
“Homeownership serves as an enduring symbol of security and prosperity, and it provides many Americans with a legacy they can pass down to their children and grandchildren,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “During National Homeownership Month, we recognize the abiding value of owning a home, and we rededicate ourselves toward helping hard-working families to find their place in the American dream.”
Although homeownership rates are currently stalled at 64.2 percent, experts say the lack of dramatic increase is a reflection of a market that is withstanding challenges such as low inventory and rising interest rates. While the number has not moved much since the first quarter of 2017, there have been gradual increases since 2016, following a significant drop after the housing crisis.
While the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) celebrates its commitment to homeownership year-round through resources provided on its Homeownership Mattersand HouseLogic sites, NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall recognized June as a pivotal time to reaffirm the association’s mission to promote homeownership.
“National Homeownership Month is a time to celebrate and promote the modern American Dream of owning a home,” said Mendenhall in a statement. “Homeownership changes lives and enhances futures, and many Americans see it as one of their greatest hopes. These individuals are counting on the nation’s 1.3 million REALTORS® to champion and protect homeownership and help make it more affordable, attainable and sustainable. REALTORS® pledge to continue to lead efforts to ensure that the dream of homeownership is not only possible, but very real, for any and all who want to achieve it, so they can have a place of their own to make memories, start growing their financial futures, and build strong communities.”
In addition, Freddie Mac’s website for National Homeownership Month provides valuable resources for homeowners, such as educational articles, homeownership program statistics and opportunities consumers can take advantage of in order to make their homeownership dream a reality.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), primary residences are ahead of all other financial assets, business interests and retirement accounts, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all assets held by households in 2016, as reported in the latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
“Homeownership is a primary source of net worth for many Americans, and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the NAHB, in an interview on NAHBNow.
In recognition of National Homeownership Month, NAHB is making a toolkit available for its members; the toolkit includes a video on the value of homeownership, sample social media posts, radio scripts and other talking points, relevant articles, and even print ads showcasing the benefits of homeownership.
Citing the passing of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Actand this past year’s tax reform bill as recent progress, President Donald Trump released a statement pledging the administration’s commitment toward increasing homeownership incentives across the country:
“During National Homeownership Month, we affirm the joy and benefits of homeownership. For millions of Americans, owning a home is an important step toward financial security and achieving the American Dream. My Administration is committed to fostering an economic environment in which every family has the opportunity to enjoy the sense of pride and stability that can come with owning a home.”
Solar panels and other renewable energy sources are a big investment. It’s easy to wonder…is this a worthwhile investment for my home or just something popular that will be irrelevant a few years from now? Solar power is a growing industry that’s here to stay. The positive impact it will have on your home and the environment as a whole is well worth the investment and can save you money on electric and energy bills in the long run.
A renewable energy source, solar power is unique because it does not emit harmful greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. The most abundant source of renewable energy, this powerful energy source is already used by many homes and businesses. There are a few types of solar energy systems. Solar power simply refers to any system that converts the sun’s light or heat into usable energy.
There are two primary systems for harnessing solar energy – active and passive. Active solar systems convert the sun’s heat or light into usable energy using mechanical or electrical devices. Passive solar systems don’t require mechanics or moving parts. They are specifically designed to collect and store heat energy from sunlight for heating or electric.
In the last ten years residential solar has skyrocketed, more than tripling the number of homes with solar. Over 1 million homes in the United States alone have rooftop solar in their homes. It is projected that by 2020 nearly 4 million homes will have rooftop solar.
In addition to the obvious benefit of taking good care of the earth and making sustainable, environmentally friendly choices…solar energy also has more personal benefits for your home, family, and budget.
- Save money on electric and heating bills. While you will have to spend some money upfront for solar panels, the money you will save using renewable energy will cover the costs and decrease your bills.
- There are solar energy tax credits, incentives, and rebates. The federal government offers a tax credit and many states, local governments, and municipalities offer additional credits. Depending on location, other solar energy incentives and rebates exist, adding another layer of financial benefit.
- Solar power isn’t limited to sunny places. Sunlight still gets through clouds, and while diffused sunlight is not as ideal as direct, it can still be converted into energy.
- Creates more jobs. Employment in the United States solar industry has skyrocketed and will continue to grow with the projected growth of home solar energy use. According to SolarCity, “employment in the U.S. solar industry recently surpassed 200,000 people – that’s more than the oil and gas extraction industry, and three times more than the coal-mining industry.”
The first step to introducing solar energy to your home is to get a quote. Companies like SolarCity, Namaste Solar (a local Colorado company) EnergySage, SunRun, NRG Home Solar, SunPower, and more will often offer free quotes and estimates to help you find the right solar panel option for you.
If you aren’t ready to jump fully in with solar panels, there are lots of smaller ways to get your feet wet in the sustainability and renewable energy game.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. Even when devices are turned off, if they remain plugged in they can still use electricity. Get a power strip that turns off, unplug your microwave and toaster when not in use, don’t leave your phone charger plugged in when your phone isn’t charging, and always remember to turn lights off when not in use! You’ll save energy and reduce your electric bill.
- Power devices with rechargeable batteries. Amazon has a wide selection of rechargeable batteries and chargers, and this easy way to use less energy is quite convenient. Once you start using solar panels, you won’t even have to use electricity to charge the batteries!
- Get a solar oven and/or solar water heater. Solar water heaters use the sun to heat a reserve water connected to the plumbing. Solar ovens can be purchased or built. Cook your food with the power and heat of the sun, saving tons of electricity and starting small on the road to solar energy.
- Use daylight whenever possible. Especially in sunny Colorado, the power of our natural light is incredible! Practice not turning the lights on if a room is already well lit by the sun.
All in all, solar energy can decrease your carbon footprint, help the environment, save you money, and contribute to the growing industry of renewable energy. A win all around!
Denver’s housing market is booming. It’s hot, it’s popular, and it seems that everyone learned Denver’s once well-kept secret…that it’s the best. With so many people moving to this great city, inventory has been low and demand has been high. Looking at the housing market, one might feel discouraged and wonder if it is even worth it to buy right now. We’re here to assure you – it is! Despite the high demand and low inventory of the Denver housing market, it is possible to find a home you love as you make this wonderful city your permanent home (until the next adventure, that is)!
FIND AN AGENT
It is vital to find a great real estate agent who is knowledgable about the market, a real estate expert, and someone dedicated to their clients. The right real estate agent will fight tirelessly for their clients, finding you the right home. Madison & Company Properties has over 140 truly incredible, highly recommended, and vetted Realtors® who can help you find your new home. Check out our website to find a Madison Realtor® who is right for you!
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Finding the right home probably won’t happen overnight. It’s important to take time to learn about different neighborhoods, and know what you want going into it. Have a list of must-haves, really-wants, and can-live-withouts. Be flexible, you might get the giant backyard but no wrap-around patio, or there are the perfect number of rooms, but you wish the kitchen had a different layout. No matter the housing market, it is almost impossible to find a home that is 100% perfect (unless you design and build yourself!), but you can find the 100% right home. And remember – you can always paint, redesign, or renovate!
When purchasing a home, it is important to know your budget and what you can afford. Before even beginning to look for homes, find a mortgage broker and get pre-qualified on your mortgage loan.
YOU’LL LOSE A FEW
And it will be okay. Bidding wars happen, folks come in with a bajillion dollars over asking price and you get bumped. It happens to everyone, and it will all work out in the end. This is one of the reasons it is important to hire a Realtor®, it is their job to negotiate, help you find the best home, and work with the seller to make sure everything is in line.
Content attribution: Principal Homebuyers