Real Estate & Mortgage Rate Update

As we head into the start of the spring homebuying season, activity has been brisk. As rates dropped in the 4th quarter of 2023, many started 2024 off renewing their efforts to find a new abode. Rates dropped from around 8% in October to the mid to high 6’s by year end. Unfortunately, persistent inflation readings and push back from the Federal Reserve on the timing of any of their first rate cuts have kept rates from making any further progress. Most now feel that the first rate cut will now be between May and July 2024. Remember, long term mortgage rates will begin to drop in anticipation of the Federal Reserve making that first cut to the short-term rates. So, assuming that inflation continues to moderate, we should see mortgage rates follow in lockstep. What we are hearing from the real estate agents we work with and our own clients is that many are just tired of waiting for the perfect time to start looking again (or for the first time). Whether that is waiting for rates to decline, more houses to come on the market, or housing prices to decline (which we have told you is not going to happen anytime soon because of the lack of supply), many are finally taking the plunge. There is significant pent-up demand out there for various reasons, including: growing families, first time homebuyers sick of rising rental rates, those that moved and are now being forced back to the office, downsizers, etc. The market is still super competitive but with our Certified Homebuyer program, our clients are having a high success rate in getting offers accepted. Call us and let us help get you positioned for success!

Rein in the Cost of Pets

We all love our Pets, and we aren’t afraid to pull out our wallets for them. The average American spends $111 – $276 each month on their animal depending on the surveys you read. Brace yourself for this: nearly half of pet owners spend at least as much on the animal’s healthcare than what is spent on their own healthcare. That said, here are someways to save!

  1. Purchase pet food in bulk. Just make sure that you keep it fresh in containers and away from critters. Also, consider a food subscription length through Amazon or Chewy.
  2. Join pet store loyalty clubs: Pet Smart, Petco, or Pet Supply plus to name a few.
  3. Consider generic brands. Generic does not necessarily mean lower quality.
  4. Buy the most durable toys. Consider KONG or BarkBox.
  5. Prevent diseases. Protect your pet by making sure they receive an annual exam, vaccines and pills for tech, heartworm, and flea prevention.
  6. Keep your pet at a healthy weight.
  7. Consider grooming and clipping nails on your own. There are great videos on how to do this on YouTube.
  8. Instead of kennels, consider Rover peer-to-peer dog walking and pet boarding mobile app.
  9. Consider insurance to help offset the emergency vet bills. There are three types of policies: 1) accident only, 2) accident and illness, and 3) wellness. Ways to save include choosing a higher deductible, purchasing insurance early, getting an accident only plan, comparison shopping, and looking for discounts. You may even be able to bundle with your car and home insurance.