Placeholder canvas

Don’t Let Your Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Plans

Don’t Let Your Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Plans Simplifying The Market

If you have student loans and want to buy a home, you might have questions about how your debt affects your plans. Do you have to wait until you’ve paid off those loans before you can buy your first home? Or is it possible you could still qualify for a home loan even with that debt? Here’s a look at the latest information so you have the answers you need.

A Bankrate article explains:

Roughly 60 percent of U.S. adults who have held student loan debt have put off making important financial decisions due to that debt . . . For Gen Z and millennial borrowers alone, that number rises to 70 percent.”

This includes one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, buying a home. But you should know, even with student loans, waiting to buy a home may not be necessary. While everyone’s situation is unique, your goal may be more within your reach than you realize. Here’s why. 

Can You Qualify for a Home Loan if You Have Student Loans?

According to an annual report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 38% of first-time buyers had student loan debt and the typical amount was $30,000.

That means other people in a similar situation were able to qualify for and buy a home even though they also had student loans. And you may be able to do the same, especially if you have a steady source of income. As an article from Bankrate says:

“. . . you can have student loans and a mortgage at the same time. . . . If you have student loans and want a mortgage, there are multiple home loan programs you might qualify for . . .”

The key takeaway is, for many people, homeownership is achievable even with student loans. 

You don’t have to figure this out on your own. The best way to make a decision about your goals and next steps is to talk to the professionals. A trusted lender can walk you through your options based on your situation, and share what’s worked for other buyers.

Bottom Line

Lots of other people with student loan debt are able to buy their own homes. Talk to a lender to go over your options and see how close you are to reaching your goal.

Single Women Are Embracing Homeownership

Single Women Are Embracing Homeownership Simplifying The Market

In today's housing market, more and more single women are becoming homeowners. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 19% of all homebuyers are single women, while only 10% are single men.

If you're a single woman trying to buy your first home, this should be encouraging. It means other people are making their dreams a reality – so you can too.

Why Homeownership Matters to So Many Women

For many single women, buying a home isn't just about having a place to live—it's also a smart way to invest for the future. Homes usually increase in value over time, so they’re a great way to build equity and overall net worth. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, says:

“. . . single women are increasingly pursuing homeownership and reaping its wealth creation benefits.”

The financial security and independence homeownership provides can be life-changing. And when you factor in the personal motivations behind buying a home, that impact becomes even clearer.

The same report from NAR shares the top reasons single women are buying a home right now, and the reality is, they’re not all financial (see chart below):

a blue and white diagram with white text


If any of these reasons resonate with you, maybe it’s time for you to buy too.

Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent

If you’re a single woman looking to buy a home, it is possible, even in today’s housing market. You’ll just want to be sure you have a great real estate agent by your side.

Talk about what your goals are and why homeownership is so important to you. That way your agent can keep what’s critical for you up front as they guide you through the buying process. They’ll help you find the right home for your needs and advocate for you during negotiations. Together, you can make your dream of homeownership a reality.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is life-changing no matter who you are. Connect with a local real estate agent to talk about your goals in the housing market.

3 Helpful Tips for First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Helpful Tips for First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

a man sitting at a desk using a laptop

Some Highlights

Does It Make Sense To Buy a Home Right Now?

Does It Make Sense To Buy a Home Right Now? Simplifying The Market

Thinking about buying a home? If so, you're probably wondering: should I buy now or wait? Nobody can make that decision for you, but here's some information that can help you decide.

What’s Next for Home Prices?

Each quarter, Fannie Mae and Pulsenomics publish the results of the Home Price Expectations Survey (HPES). It asks more than 100 experts—economists, real estate professionals, and investment and market strategists—what they think will happen with home prices.

In the latest survey, those experts say home prices are going to keep going up for the next five years (see graph below):

 a graph of green bars


Here’s what all the green on this chart should tell you. They’re not expecting any price declines. Instead, they’re saying we’ll see a 3-4% rise each year.

And even though home prices aren’t expected to climb by as much in 2025 as they are 2024, keep in mind these increases can really add up over time. It works like this. If these experts are right and your home's value goes up by 3.78% this year, it's set to grow another 3.36% next year. And another 3.87% the year after that.

What Does This Mean for You?

Knowing that prices are forecasted to keep going up should make you feel good about buying a home. That’s because it means your home is an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.

If you’re not convinced yet, maybe these numbers will get your attention. They show how a typical home’s value could change over the next few years using expert projections from the HPES. Check out the graph below:

 a graph of growth in a chart


In this example, imagine you bought a home for $400,000 at the start of this year. Based on these projections, you could end up gaining over $83,000 in household wealth over the next five years as your home grows in value.

Of course, you could also wait – but if you do, buying a home is just going to end up costing you more. 

Bottom Line

If you're thinking it's time to get your own place, and you’re ready and able to do so, buying now might make sense. Your home is expected to keep getting more valuable as prices go up. Teaming up with a local real estate agent is a good first step to start looking for your next home today.

4 Tips To Make Your Strongest Offer on a Home

4 Tips To Make Your Strongest Offer on a Home Simplifying The Market

Are you thinking about buying a home soon? If so, you should know today’s market is competitive in many areas because the number of homes for sale is still low – and that’s leading to multiple-offer scenarios. And moving into the peak homebuying season this spring, this is only expected to ramp up more.

Remember these four tips to make your best offer.

1. Partner with a Real Estate Agent

Rely on a real estate agent who can support your goals. As PODS notes:

“Making an offer on a home without an agent is certainly possible, but having a pro by your side gives you a massive advantage in figuring out what to offer on a house.”

Agents are local market experts. They know what’s worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for. That advice can be game changing when you’re deciding what offer to bring to the table.

2. Understand Your Budget

Knowing your numbers is even more important right now. The best way to understand your budget is to work with a lender so you can get pre-approved for a home loan. Doing so helps you be more financially confident and shows sellers you’re serious. That gives you a competitive edge. As Investopedia says:

“. . . sellers have an advantage because of intense buyer demand and a limited number of homes for sale; they may be less likely to consider offers without pre-approval letters.”

3. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home, especially when affordability is tight. However, submitting an offer that’s too low does have some risks. You don’t want to make an offer that’ll be tossed out as soon as it’s received just to see if it sticks. As Realtor.com explains:

“. . . an offer price that’s significantly lower than the listing price, is often rejected by sellers who feel insulted . . . Most listing agents try to get their sellers to at least enter negotiations with buyers, to counteroffer with a number a little closer to the list price. However, if a seller is offended by a buyer or isn’t taking the buyer seriously, there’s not much you, or the real estate agent, can do.”

The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive and find a price that’s fair to you and the seller.

4. Trust Your Agent During Negotiations

After you submit your offer, the seller may decide to counter it. When negotiating, it's smart to understand what matters to the seller. Once you do, being as flexible as you can on things like moving dates or the condition of the house can make your offer more attractive.

Your real estate agent is your partner in navigating these details. Trust them to lead you through negotiations and help you figure out the best plan. As an article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“There are many factors up for discussion in any real estate transaction—from price to repairs to possession date. A real estate professional who’s representing you will look at the transaction from your perspective, helping you negotiate a purchase agreement that meets your needs . . .” 

Bottom Line

In today's competitive market, be sure to work with a local real estate agent to find you a home you love and craft a strong offer that stands out.

Your Home Is a Powerful Investment

Your Home Is a Powerful Investment Simplifying The Market

Going into 2023, there was a lot of talk about a possible recession that would cause the housing market to crash. Some in the media were even forecasting home prices would drop by as much as 10-20%—and that might have made you feel a bit unsure about buying a home.

But here’s what actually happened: home prices went up more than usual. Brian D. Luke, Head of Commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indices, explains:

“Looking back at the year, 2023 appears to have exceeded average annual home price gains over the past 35 years.”

To put last year’s growth into context, the graph below uses data from Freddie Mac on how home prices have changed each year going back to 1980. The dotted line shows the long-term average for appreciation:

 a graph showing the average of a home appreciation


The big takeaway? Home prices almost always go up.

As an article from Forbes says:

“. . . the U.S. real estate market has a long and reliable history of increasing in value over time.”

In fact, since 1980, the only time home prices dropped was during the housing market crash (shown in red in the graph above). Fortunately, the market today isn’t like it was in 2008. For starters, there aren’t enough available homes to meet buyer demand right now. On top of that, homeowners have a tremendous amount of equity, so they’re on much stronger footing than they were back then. That means there won’t be a wave of foreclosures that causes prices to fall.

The fact that home values went up every single year except those four in red is why owning a home can be one of the smartest moves you can make. When you’re a homeowner, you own something that typically becomes more valuable over time. And as your home’s value appreciates, your net worth grows

So, if you’re financially stable and prepared for the costs and expenses of homeownership, buying a home might make a lot of sense for you.

Bottom Line

Home prices almost always go up over time. That makes buying a home a smart move, if you’re ready and able. Connect with a local real estate agent to talk about your goals and what’s available in our area.

Finding Your Perfect Home in a Fixer Upper

Finding Your Perfect Home in a Fixer Upper Simplifying The Market

If you’re trying to buy a home and are having a hard time finding one you can afford, it may be time to consider a fixer-upper. That’s a house that needs a little elbow grease or some updates, but has good bones. Fixer-uppers can be a really great option if you’re looking to break into the housing market or want to stretch your budget further. According to NerdWallet:

“Buying a fixer-upper can provide a path to homeownership for first-time home buyers or a way for repeat buyers to afford a larger home or a better neighborhood. With the relatively low inventory of homes for sale these days, a move-in ready home can be hard to find, especially if you’re on a budget.”

Basically, since the number of homes for sale is still so low, if you’re only willing to tour homes that have all your dream features, you may be cutting down your options too much and making it harder on yourself than necessary. It may be time to cast a wider net.

Sometimes the perfect home is the one you perfect after buying it.

Here’s some information that can help you pinpoint what you truly need so you can be strategic in your home search. First, make a list of all the features you want in a home. From there, work to break those features into categories like this:

  • Must-Haves - If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle.
  • Nice-To-Haves - These are features you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-to-haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of these, it’s a contender.
  • Dream State - This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner.


Once you’ve sorted your list in a way that works for you, share it with your real estate agent. They’ll help you find homes that deliver on your top needs right now and have the potential to be your dream home with a little bit of sweat equity. Lean on their expertise as you think through what’s possible, what features are easy to change or add, and how to make it happen. According to Progressive:

“Many real estate agents specialize in finding fixer-uppers and have a network of inspectors, contractors, electricians, and the like.”

Your agent can also offer advice on which upgrades and renovations will set you up to get the greatest return on your investment if you ever decide to sell down the line.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t found a home you love that’s in your budget, it may be worth thinking through all your options, including fixer-uppers. Sometimes the perfect home for you is the one you perfect after buying it. To see what’s available in your area, connect with a local real estate agent.

The First Step: Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

The First Step: Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

a screenshot of a website

Some Highlights

The Truth About Down Payments

The Truth About Down Payments Simplifying The Market

If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment. That might be because you’ve heard you need to save 20% of the home’s price to put down. Well, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. That means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize.

As The Mortgage Reports says:

“Although putting down 20% to avoid mortgage insurance is wise if affordable, it’s a myth that this is always necessary. In fact, most people opt for a much lower down payment.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, for all homebuyers today it’s only 15%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 8% (see graph below):

a graph of a number of blue squares


The big takeaway? You may not need to save as much as you originally thought.

Learn About Resources That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

According to Down Payment Resource, there are also over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and many of them are intended to help with down payments.

Plus, there are loan options that can help too. For example, FHA loans offer down payments as low as 3.5%, while VA and USDA loans have no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

With so many resources available to help with your down payment, the best way to find what you qualify for is by consulting with your loan officer or broker. They know about local grants and loan programs that may help you out.

Don’t let the misconception that you have to have 20% saved up hold you back. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, lean on the professionals to find resources that can help you make your dreams a reality. If you put your plans on hold until you’ve saved up 20%, it may actually cost you in the long run. According to U.S. Bank:

“. . . there are plenty of reasons why it might not be possible. For some, waiting to save up 20% for a down payment may “cost” too much time. While you’re saving for your down payment and paying rent, the price of your future home may go up.”

Home prices are expected to keep appreciating over the next 5 years – meaning your future home will likely go up in price the longer you wait. If you’re able to use these resources to buy now, that future price growth will help you build equity, rather than cost you more.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that you don't always need a 20% down payment to buy a home. If you're looking to make a move this year, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to start the conversation about your homebuying goals.

Strategic Tips for Buying Your First Home

Strategic Tips for Buying Your First Home Simplifying The Market

Buying your first home is a big, exciting step and a major milestone that has the power to improve your life. As a first-time homebuyer, it's a dream you can make come true, but there are some hurdles you'll need to overcome in today’s housing market – specifically the limited supply of homes for sale and ongoing affordability challenges.

So, if you're ready, willing, and able to buy your first home, here are three tips to help you turn your dream into a reality.

Save Money with First-Time Homebuyer Programs                                       

Paying the initial costs of homeownership, like your down payment and closing costs, can feel a bit daunting. But there are many assistance programs for first-time homebuyers that can help you get a loan with little or no money upfront. According to Bankrate:

“. . . you might qualify for a first-time homebuyer loan or assistance. First-time buyer loans typically have more flexible requirements, such as a lower down payment and credit score. Many help buyers with closing costs and the down payment through grants and low-interest loans.

To find out more, talk to your state's housing authority or check out websites like Down Payment Resource.

Expand Your Options by Looking at Condos and Townhomes

Right now, there aren’t enough homes for sale for everyone who wants to buy one. That’s pushing home prices up and making affordability tight for buyers. One way to deal with that issue and find a home right now is to consider condos and townhomes. Realtor.com explains:

For many newbies, it might just be a matter of making a shift toward something they can better afford—like a condo or townhome. These lower-cost homes have historically been a stepping stone for buyers looking for a less expensive alternative to a single-family home.”

One reason why they may be more affordable is because they’re often smaller. But they still give you the chance to get your foot in the door and achieve your goal of owning a home and building equity. And that equity can help fuel your move into a larger home later on if you decide you need something bigger in the future. Hannah Jones, Senior Economic Analyst at Realtor.com, says:

Condos can help prospective homebuyers who perhaps have a smaller budget, but who are really determined to get a foothold in the market and start to accumulate some equity. It can be a really great entry point.”

Consider Pooling Your Resources To Buy a Multi-Generational Home

Another way to break into the market is by purchasing a home with friends or loved ones. That way you can split the cost of things like the mortgage and bills, to make it easier to afford a home. According to Money.com:

“Buying a home with another person has some obvious advantages in the mortgage department. With two incomes in the mix, buyers can likely qualify for a larger mortgage — a big help in today’s high-cost market.

Bottom Line

By exploring first-time homebuyer assistance, condos, townhomes, and multi-generational living, it can be easier to find and buy your first home. When you’re ready, connect with a local real estate agent.