What you look for in a home is bound to change over time, just as you do. That super affordable post-college apartment you shared with three roommates after graduation is a far cry from the home you’ll want 30 years later when you’re approaching retirement and looking toward an empty nest.
The average American moves every eight and half years, and the average millennial moves every five years. With all that change, you have to assume that at some point, people morph from being renters to owners, or vice versa. As your housing needs evolve, it makes sense that the information and tools you need to support your search follow suit. Trulia has matched three common life stages with three key tools for the needed help at hand—the Rental Resume, Affordability Calculator, and Home Loan Refinance Calculator.
1. When you’re waiting to buy (or are content with renting), put Trulia’s Rental Resume to use
News to Know: After five years of steep rent increases all across the U.S., rental market listing prices are dropping, and more landlords are cutting advertised rents. In fact, according to Trulia data, nearly one in 10 rental listings had a rent cut, and the share of rent cuts for listings nationally increased 1.2 percentage points from May 2016 through April 2017 to 9.7% from 8.6% the prior year. Additionally, between last year and this year, 83 of the top 100 metro areas saw a rise in the share of rental listings that had price cuts.
Tool to Know: Trulia’s free Rental Resume helps prospective renters present themselves with polish and stand out from the crowd in today’s super competitive rental market. Here’s how it works: You fill out a handful of basic facts and qualifications up front—move-in time frame, number of pets, income, occupation, and more. Everything you submit is compiled into one tidy, easily shareable digital document. With just one click, you can then pass along this key information to landlords or property managers, just as you would a LinkedIn profile in your job search.
2. When your current mortgage could be improved, try the Home Loan Refinance Calculator
News to Know: Only one-third of homes in the U.S. have returned to their pre-housing crash value, according to a Trulia report from earlier this year. In fact, several major metropolitan areas, including Las Vegas, Tucson and Fresno, Calif., have all seen less than 3% of their homes recover their value—a stunning contrast to cities like San Francisco, Denver, and Oklahoma City, who have seen 94% of their homes recover. For homeowners who aren’t moving anywhere soon and are looking to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, refinancing maybe be one’s smartest housing-related option. And for those that have enough equity in their homes, a cash-out refinance could help those that want to use their equity to pay for large, upcoming expenses, like home renovations or college tuition.
Tool to Know: If you’re already settled in your home and are looking to take advantage of lower rates, it’s possible that buying a new house or moving into a rental isn’t the most ideal financial solution—while refinancing your home is. Trulia’s Home Loan Refinance Calculator does the math for you to help you figure out if refinancing will actually pay off. After you submit your current loan amount, interest rate, and term, you can determine not only how much lower your monthly costs would be, but also the overall savings you’d have over the term of the loan, along with how many months it would take to break even on the costs of refinancing.
3. When you’re serious about buying, try the House Affordability Calculator
News to Know: According to a Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey (HVS) released in April 2017, the number of owner-occupied households grew faster than renter households for the first time in nearly 11 years. Furthermore, the homeownership rate of 63.6% was essentially unchanged from the same period in 2016 (63.5%), meaning that the rate has stabilized five years after the bottom of the housing market.
Tool to Know: As home-seekers get ready to take the plunge and officially start looking for a house, the House Affordability Calculator shows you how much house you can afford based on six key parameters: your income, debts, interest, credit score, down payment, and savings. With the calculator, it’s easy to play around with seeing what income you would need to earn in order to afford that dream house. Or, if your salary is fixed, you can see how a bigger or smaller down payment would affect your monthly payments.
Looking to buy or rent? Find more helpful tips here