Market trends in the past decade The white paper presented the differences between 2013 and 2023. Mortgage rates were just 3.98% back in 2013 and are sitting at 7.21% year to date. The number of new single-family homes completed in 2013 was 569,000 compared to more than one million in 2023 YTD. The average price … [Read more…]
When you’re looking to purchase your first home, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different first-time homebuyer programs available in your area. They can help you afford this major purchase.
Programs vary in terms of their eligibility requirements and the types of assistance they offer, but all offer some form of financial aid. But what are these programs, and how do they work? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a First-Time Homebuyer Program?
A first-time homebuyer program is a government-sponsored program designed to help people purchase their first home. Programs vary from state to state, but generally, they offer financial assistance in the form of low-interest rates, down payment assistance, and other incentives.
A few examples include:
- The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
- The Veterans Affairs Homebuyer Assistance Program
- The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)® Homebuyer Assistance Program
- State-sponsored programs, such as the California New Home Grant Program, can also offer assistance.
Who Is Eligible for a First-Time Homebuyer Program?
Each program has its own eligibility requirements, which vary depending on the program and the state in which it is located.
However, generally speaking, you’re eligible if you purchase your first home and meet the criteria set by the program. These criteria can range from being newly divorced, a military veteran, or widowed to having a low income and getting ready to buy your first home. You may be eligible for other programs if you’ve already owned a home. Still, first-time homebuyer programs will automatically disqualify applicants attempting to purchase second homes or investment properties.
Get matched with a personal
loan that’s right for you today.
Related read: What Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a House?
How Do First-Time Homebuyer Programs Work?
Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible for a first-time homebuyer program, the next step is to find a program compatible with your needs. Programs typically offer a variety of incentives, such as low-interest rates or down payment assistance, to help you purchase your home. Once you have found a program you’re eligible for, you’ll need to submit an application and meet eligibility requirements.
Once you have been accepted into the program and met eligibility requirements, you’ll need to begin preparations for your home purchase. This may include searching for a qualifying home and making any necessary financial commitments. Finally, once all of the paperwork has been completed, and your financing has been approved, you can go ahead and purchase your home.
How Can I Use a First-Time Homebuyer Program?
There’s no one definitive answer to this question, as each program has different requirements and guidelines. However, if you’re approved for financial assistance, then the money will be given to help you purchase a home. Typically, these programs aren’t for rehabbing a home or house flipping. If you need help making repairs, consider instead getting a personal loan to finance home improvement. You’ll have a higher likelihood of getting approved for help covering repairs than a homebuyer’s program would offer.
The Bottom Line
A first-time homebuyer program can help you get into the market quickly and easily. They offer many benefits, including reduced interest rates and fees, waived closing costs, etc.
Hey everyone! Today, I have a great savings story to share from a reader named Nichole. She will be talking about how she went from -$20,000 to a six-figure savings by 26 years old. The following will be outlining my experience getting scammed and how it catapulted me into learning about how money works. I…
Hey everyone! Today, I have a great savings story to share from a reader named Nichole. She will be talking about how she went from -$20,000 to a six-figure savings by 26 years old.
The following will be outlining my experience getting scammed and how it catapulted me into learning about how money works. I will divulge all the things I’ve done to earn a six-figure savings, pay off over $20,000 in debt and stay consistent with saving for a home to pay cash. I will go over the importance of knowing your “why” and how it has a large part in saving money. I believe we all have the ability to be successful with our finances and sharing my story hopefully encourages you to stay motivated during your own journey.
Since I was a little girl I’ve always yearned for independence and responsibility. My mother tells the story like this:
“It was your first week of kindergarten and I walked you to the bus stop to drop you off. You didn’t even let me drive you that first day! When I met you at the bus stop after school at 2pm you look at me and say “mom, you don’t need to pick me up from the bus stop, I can walk home without you”. I had to explain to you that wasn’t allowed because you were only five years old and the school didn’t allow that.”
The moral of the story is, if I could do it on my own I did. This included making money so I could buy my own stuff.
Throughout elementary and middle school I sold things to make money: lanyards, bracelets, candy, even offered to do peoples homework for $5 in 6th grade!
Earning money gave me more independence to pay for the things I wanted, so I always stayed motivated.
My parents never talked much about money, I just knew we had everything we needed and more. We were very middle class.
I was taught to avoid debt but to always have a credit card just in case an emergency happens. Oh, and you’ll always have a car payment, so get used to it
It wasn’t until sixteen years old that I learned my parents were always one catastrophe away from losing everything.
In 2008 my parents lost the home they custom built because they took out a no interest loan that they couldn’t afford once it ballooned.
This changed something in me, my world was shaken and I never knew it had a weak foundation to begin with.
I started to view money a different way.
I wanted it but didn’t know how to keep it safe from others that could take it away from me, like what my parents experienced. I didn’t want to repeat their money mistakes.
Fast-forward to 21 years old, I got married to my husband and best friend, yes so young, I know!
The following two years were spent finishing up my Bachelors in Communication and attempting to pay off our debt, we had about $20,000 wrapped up in student loans, credit cards and a car accident. We didn’t know much about money and we were still living with parents to try and save for a down payment for our first home.
This is how it’s supposed to work right? College, marriage, buy a home and have a baby. In that order.
In 2018, my husband and I put an offer on a home, 2 bed 1 bath fixer upper with a nice backyard and workshop in the back for $230,000.
We were excited for our new adventure but when it came down to our offer and one other, we lost. When we got the news our agent said, “yeah, they offered all cash, you didn’t have a chance”. We thought to ourselves, who the heck has that much money to pay cash for a home?! We brushed it off and figured it just wasn’t our time to buy. Little did we know the irony of this.
I started to really spend my time researching about money and how to leverage it and get rich! My goal was to find the secret sauce to success and wealth. I embarked on a downward spiral of YouTubes algorithm of financial videos and advice. Then I came across a very well-known financial expert that offered FREE courses about how to get rich, how could I pass that up? I signed up for the next free course.
Once there I was greeted with excited faces and tons of energy, oh yes, this was my moment to find the secret sauce! The lady speaking talked about all the homes she owns, the money she makes and extravagant trips she takes, I was hooked. I wanted that life, not my own, I needed change.
By the end of the presentation I was willing to do anything to continue my knowledge on financial freedom, or so I thought that’s what I was going to learn. I was the first person to stand up and run over to the tables full of iPads and “We accept credit” signs. I whipped out my credit card and signed up for my 3-day seminar. I don’t mind paying for education! I already had $13,000 in student loan debt anyway so who cares?!
The day of the seminar comes an I am elated, I am OVERLY ELATED. I couldn’t wait for my husband to share the same excitement I experienced at the last meet up. I was again, welcomed by excited faces and high energy. We had our notebooks, pens and open minds ready to learn how to get rich.
To no one’s surprise, we were let down.
Within 10 minutes of the presentation my husband looked at me with eyes saying “we got duped”. He didn’t have to say anything. Let me paint the picture for you.
The presenter had on a gold and diamond link bracelet and a fancy suit. He yelled and poured water on the floor for dramatic effect, handed out cash and even had us stand on our seats in unison shouting the same corny lines “we are warriors”. He informed us that he was going to teach us to buy homes with a credit card and leverage our credit for the best. He promised for the small price of $15,000 that we would learn all about the secret sauce to the rich *can you hear my sarcasm? *. He said we would have mentors along the way to help us buy these homes on credit. He told us not to come back the next day if we weren’t willing to pay for more classes. And we didn’t.
You get the point, it was a 3 days sale pitch to get us to buy more courses.
We walked to our car, now an extra $600 in debt and feeling like the most gullible people in the world. Christmas was only four days away and we were more broke than before we showed up. We had to sell personal items to have Christmas that year.
A switch went off in my head, I was angry. I was so angry that I fell into this scam, I was angry we didn’t get our home, I was angry we were broke, but ultimately, I was angry for not knowing how to manage my money. This stung extra because I hated the fact that in that moment I became my parents, I made a huge money mistake.
Anger is a funny thing, it can ignite the most creative sides of our brain. I decided I was going to get my money back.
What email did I send them?
A short summary of what I experienced and that they had 48 hours to get back in contact with me before I went to social media to expose them and my experience. I received a full refund the next day, with no response, even to this day.
Scorned is a nice way to put it.
I was now on a mission to learn all I could about how money REALLY works.
And so, I went back to my faithful teacher…YouTube of course! I searched and watched hours of videos until I came across one that made sense to me. A lot of financial jargon can be thrown around with no explanation, I don’t like that. I believe if someone can’t explain it easily then they don’t know enough about the subject to begin with.
Then I found the video that made sense: common knowledge and nothing you haven’t heard before (funny how that works).
I acknowledge that everyone has a different stance on money management and I take the view of, “to each their own”. I don’t think there is one “right” way but I found that following this new plan I was able to save more and feel good doing it than I ever did before.
These are the principles I followed, and they worked!
To put them simply they are:
- 1: $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
- 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
- 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
- 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
- 5: College funding for children
- 6: Pay off home early
- 7: Build wealth and give
And then there is 3b – Save up for a home. This step is after you save your 3-6 months emergency fund and the current step I am on.
I had an epiphany, if I am in $13,000 worth of debt, and then add another $230,000 of debt for a house and a new car, then I’m going to be in some serious trouble with my monthly bills and interest I’m accruing. MOST Americans live like this. Banks don’t pay Trillions of dollars toward advertising if it didn’t work. Yes, I said “T”.
We paid off my student loans in full that day. I wish this was the end of our debt story but it is not.
My husband, who at this point in our journey is a new real estate agent, started to use a secret credit card to pay for real estate fees. We could have budgeted for these expenses but the shame of using the money I earned and him not contributing got the best of his ego. He bought a $200 chair for his new office, accrued office fees, all new clothes, etc…
Meanwhile I thought we were debt free and his parents were being nice by supporting his new venture! It is important for him and I to mention this part in our story because many people can relate to these feeling surrounding money: shame, guilt, and failure. It is a team effort.
Our social stigmas can convolute our ideas about money within a marriage. We are taught that the man makes the money, but sometimes the story doesn’t work like that and that’s ok!
The good news is, we’ve grown from this experience. We now work so closely with our money that we are each other’s cheerleader and in it to win it!
Since our journey has started we have:
- Paid off my student loans— $13,000
- Paid off all our credit card debt and consumer debt— $7,000
- Paid off my car— $4,000
- Paid for TWO cars CASH: A 2007 Volkswagen Jetta and then a 2012 Jaguar XF Portfolio to replace it when it died (quite a step up!) This is how we saved and bought our Jaguar cash summing— $14,400
- Bought new appliances and toilets for my mother in laws home— $4,000
- Given away money with a generous heart every.single.month (it’s part of our budget)
- Accrued a six-figure savings and are on track to buy our first home cash in 2022!
How did we do it?
First, I’d like to mention, we are very normal people with normal jobs. I work in education and my husband is a real estate agent.
We didn’t invest in a stock that suddenly went up, win the lottery or get an inheritance.
We worked our butts off to get to this point in our journey and we still are.
Many people can do this and it starts with visualizing it and then believing you’ll get there.
We found out through our process it is exactly that, a process.
How we saved over six figures:
- Following steps 1-7 about saving, investing and giving
- Staying consistent! I can’t mention this enough, even if we go over our budget one month, we hop right back onto the savings wagon the following month
- Side hustles—we have done it all! I was the cleaning lady at my job for 5 months, I baked cakes (and got quite good at decorating them), I made epoxy key chains, sold items we didn’t need, took on EVERY OT opportunity at work including working an extra 4 hours on top of regular work hours with students to help them during COVID, the list goes on. We take advantage of all extra earning opportunities
- Cut down on spending—believe it or not anything outside of our bills and expenses we only allocate $200 a month for. This includes: toothpaste, if we need clothes, going out to dinners/lunch/with friends, medications, etc… Once the money is gone, its gone! Yes, I shop at Goodwill a lot and coupon hunt!
- Cut out streaming services and use a family members account (one day we will get it back)
- Use cash envelopes—We use this for bills that aren’t online to avoid going over our budget
- Use a zero-based budget—We practice a zero-based budget approach with our money—all the money left over after our bills and expenses goes straight into the home savings. Read more about how this budget works here https://elizabethandinez.com/what-is-zero-based-budgeting-and-why-it-works/
- Switch phone companies—we saved over $50 a month that went toward our home savings! We gave ourselves a raise!
- Start a blog. My cousin and I started a blog and sell financial sheets on Etsy
- Start giving to others every month. This is a part of our budget and the most fun you will ever have with money. Sometimes it’s to a waitress, a mother in a store buying food for her kids, a super awesome pet groomer, someone in a restaurant we want to get the bill for and most of the time its anonymously! Giving does something to the heart and is a huge part of our bigger picture of “why” we are doing what we are doing. This keeps us motivated to do more and stay the course. Having a bigger reason for why you save is a key factor for staying consistent
- Stay diligent—we take every day as our opportunity to put extra into our savings
- Meet with an accountability partner— We meet weekly to do a budget overview—this is important because we are each other’s accountability partners.
- Practice putting out into the world what you want to receive, for example, a positive attitude! It’s amazing what happens when you attract positive outcomes, they come right back.
- Visualize your goals and set intentions for them—this plays a large role in our success. We have charts around our room showing us our progress and how far we have come. Starting with the image in your head while also setting intentions for that goal will turn into real results! I suggest looking into videos or books on the Law of Attraction.
- Open a Money Market account to help with depreciation and earn a little interest as you save. This is also good because the money isn’t as easily available as a checking’s would be. We get about $50 every month for FREE from interest
- Attend a financial class—We’ve done this FIVE TIMES to be around likeminded people trying to get out of debt and follow the same plan. We know the information like the back of our hand but it is not about the knowledge, its about the behavior
Know your why
When you have a big enough “why” for the goal you are setting it becomes almost like second nature. You find ways to make it happen.
A good example (but a sad one) is if you have a sick child and not enough money for the surgery or appointment. Because your why for saving is so strong you are going to do EVERYTHING in your power to raise that money and make it happen, no matter what.
Without your why, the process is going to be daunting and drag.
You need motivation behind your goal, so find it.
Why are we saving like crazy anyway?
We decided we want to create generational wealth for our families. Money does not make you happy in life but it does clear up a lot of problems and make it possible to help others. We want to be able to take care of our family for generations.
We also want to be able to give to others. We give with open hands, not clinched ones. If you picture an open hand for a moment, palms up and open to receiving and letting go, vulnerable, not clinching, willing. Having an open hand allows money to flow freely in and out. Being open and quick to give to others rather than holding it tight allows you to see the miracles that money can make in another person’s life. We want to fill our cup to the top so that it pours over and we have enough to fill others.
Our plans for the future to become millionaires:
- Buy our home cash
- Up my work investing to 5% into my 403b for the complete company match
- Put the max amount of $6,000 into each of our ROTH IRAS (as of 2021 that is the max amount allowed) We will set up automatic payments every month of $500 into each account to ensure we are hitting those highs and lows of the market every month
- Save for a commercial real estate property
- Save for rental properties. Because my husband is a real estate agent we are very interested in investing our money into real estate and handling rental properties in our area, specifically rehabbing trustee sales
- Open a real estate brokerage account. This is one of our long-term goals and will one day be an investment we pay cash for to open
- Earn income from the Elizabeth&Inez blog
- Give to others so that their lives can be touched by the good in this world
Our journey is far from over but the successes along the way are proof of our bigger picture becoming a reality. We went from -$20,000 in debt to over a $100,000 savings from the beginning of 2019 to June 2021! Follow my blog for financial insight and more updates on our journey!
Do you have any questions for me? Ask away in the comments below.
Author bio: My name is Nichole Yanez and I am a financial blogger at Elizabeth And Inez. I talk about my experience as a millennial living in Southern California trying to buy my first home cash! I work in the field of education but my passion is money management and inspiring others to start their journey to financial freedom. I hope my story brings hope to others that they are capable of changing their family tree with three things: consistency, hard work and diligence. This is my story about financial deception and how it landed me into learning about money and how it works.
Ready to get your start in real estate? If so, don’t miss today’s podcast with Amy Rogers, an agent who started selling homes after investing in them herself. On this episode, Aaron and Amy discuss the transition from buying homes to selling them, offer advice to new agents, and cover strategies for growing market share in a shifting market. Amy also explains why a morning routine should be a part of every real estate agent’s day and how to apply what you learn by listening to the show.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
- Why Amy Rogers decided get into real estate [2:38]
- Amy’s start as a real estate agent [3:44]
- How Amy found her first clients [6:10]
- Amy’s first year in real estate [10:35]
- Focusing on market share in 2023 [12:51]
- Strategies for growing market share [15:34]
- Amy’s opinion on CRMs and follow up [20:03]
- Why Amy is focusing on social media in 2023 [22:27]
- What Amy wishes she knew as a new real estate agent [23:48]
- When Amy started listening to Real Estate Rockstars [26:04]
- Taking action on what you learn [27:49]
- Amy’s favorite real estate transaction [31:34]
- The importance of a powerful morning routine [35:04]
- Amy’s real estate investments [37:44]
- Why Amy loves North Dakota [42:06]
- Amy’s advice for people thinking about real estate [43:18]
- Where to find and follow Amy Rogers [45:18]
As a real estate investor and real estate agent, Amy understands the importance of the best buy at the right time. As a military spouse and mother of four, she understands the significance of cultivating a home and putting down roots.
After bouncing between five states in six years and landing in Minot during a record-breaking blizzard, Amy was ready to call a place home. And Minot did not disappoint! Within hours of our arrival, with the help of new neighbors, they were unpacked, had fresh Christmas cookies and a snow cleared driveway.
In the five years Amy’s family has gotten to claim Minot as their own, “Minotians” have cared for their special needs son, supported her vintage furniture refinishing business, and supplied her with multiple opportunities to reinvent shabby properties into beautiful investment homes.
Whether Amy is transforming an old shuffleboard table into a kitchen island, rehabbing a 100-year-old bungalow, or serving the wonderful people of “NoDak” as their friendly real estate agent, she does so with care, skill, and an eye for value.
No matter if you are searching for your first home, your forever home, a flip, the next property in your portfolio, or the home of your dreams, Amy can help you with that!
Related Links and Resources:
It might go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: We really value listeners like you. We’re constantly working to improve the show, so why not leave us a review? If you love the content and can’t stand the thought of missing the nuggets our Rockstar guests share every week, please subscribe; it’ll get you instant access to our latest episodes and is the best way to support your favorite real estate podcast. Have questions? Suggestions? Want to say hi? Shoot me a message via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Email.
179,778 Properties Flipped in 2015
Is it time to worry? Home prices are surging, affordability is becoming a concern, and home flippers are back out in droves. Surely that’s a recipe for disaster, right?
A new report from RealtyTrac revealed that the number of “active home flippers” in 2015 was the highest it has been since 2007, around the time things came crashing down, partly due to those very flippers.
Last year, some 179,778 single-family homes and condos were flipped by flippers, with flips accounting for 5.5% of total U.S. home sales.
That was up marginally from the 5.3% share in 2014, but it marked the first annual increase in the share of house flips after four consecutive yearly declines.
And in 83 of 110 metros nationwide (75%) flipped homes increased from a year earlier. So it’s not just some markets seeing increased flip activity. California is the only noticeably cold state.
For the record, RealtyTrac defines a “home flip” as a property sold a second time within a 12-month period. But if I had it my way, I’d expand that definition slightly seeing that some folks wait just over a year due to tax purposes.
So the number of flips could be even higher if you move the definition to say 13 months, which is still clearly a fast turnaround intended to make a quick profit.
110,008 Flippers Flipped in 2015
Sorry for having fun with the word flipper. I can’t help myself. I think we need a new word for it, personally. Anyway, a total of 110,008 investors/entities flipped at least one property last year.
That was the highest number since 2007 when a slightly higher 130,603 home flippers existed. Still, it’s nowhere close to the peak seen in 2005 when 259,192 flippers were out doing their thing. Back then flips made up 8.2% of total home sales.
The share of flipped homes was actually above 2005 levels in 12 metros, including Pittsburgh, Memphis, Buffalo, San Diego, and Seattle.
The states with the highest share of flips included Nevada (8.8%), Florida (8.0%), Alabama (7.4%), Arizona (7.1%) and Tennessee (6.9%).
As far as metros go, Memphis (11.1%) Fresno (9.2%), and Las Vegas (9.2%) led the way.
Interestingly, despite the numbers inching up again, the number of home flips per investor (1.63) was the lowest since 2008.
So it appears as if today’s flipper is a bit more discerning, possibly because they have no choice. We know inventory is limited, and it’s already more difficult to obtain financing for several properties at once.
That could limit some of the bad things surrounding house flipping, but it doesn’t mean noobs aren’t still buying homes for double the price the previous buyer purchased them for.
Tip: Look at the property history at the bottom of Redfin/Zillow listing pages to see what the previous buyer paid to determine if you should pay double that!
Flipped Homes Purchased at 26% Discount
RealtyTrac said flipped homes were on average purchased for 26% below market value and later resold for a five percent premium above the estimated market value.
The average gross flipping profit, defined as the difference in purchase price and sale price, hit a 10-year high in 2015 of $55,000, not far from the $58,750 seen in 2015.
This figure doesn’t include the costs of rehabbing the property, which is typically anywhere from 20-33% of the property’s after repair value.
The best return on investment (ROI) was in the $100,000 to $200,000 home price range, with Pittsburgh (129.5%), New Orleans (99.2%), and Philadelphia (98.4%) the leaders nationwide.
Unfortunately, this return to flipping means less opportunity for traditional home buyers who rely on mortgage financing to get the deal done.
This competition, coupled with a continued lack of housing inventory, will make it increasingly difficult for first-timers and others with limited cash reserves to buy homes. Additionally, it could be yet another sign of the formation of another bubble.
I flip a lot of houses (20 to 30 a year), and once in a while, I find myself watching a house-flipping show on television. In most cases, I get very frustrated because I know what they are producing is not realistic and nothing like flipping in the real world. Some might think house flipping … Read more
2018 Top 10 Award Winner: Ted Snyder! This is episode #410, and my guest today is Ted Snyder. Ted is living the proverbial real estate investor dream. Heâs bought around 650 houses over the past 10 years or so, and trotted the globe while doing itâ¦visiting 35 countries during that time.
018 Top 10 Award Winner: Jason McDougall! This is episode #400, and todayâs guest is my friend Jason McDougall. Many new real estate investors that are successful end up working long hours, and doing everything themselves. Itâs not easy to build a business from scratch, and also have the resources to afford to have others to outsource some of your tasks to.
2018 Top 10 Award Winner: Adrien Chabot! This is episode #424, and my guest today is Adrien Chabot. Adrien is a Northwest Indiana real estate investor, just around the bend from Chicago. He has been a full time real estate investor for only about 2 years, and with his partner, is on track to do around 100 deals this year.
I love setting goals, trying to accomplish them, and usually failing miserably! I say that in a joking manner but I really don’t mind not accomplishing all of my goals because that is not what goals are for. Goals are to help you do better and go farther than you would have gone without them. … Read more