Gold Country CA Real Estate Blog and News

Is It Better To Rent Than Buy a Home Right Now?

Is It Better To Rent Than Buy a Home Right Now?


You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. And while that may be true in some markets if you just look at typical monthly payments, there’s one thing that the numbers aren’t factoring in: and that’s home equity. Here’s a look at how big of an impact equity can have and why it’s worth considering as you make your decision.

What the Headlines Are Based on

The graph below uses national data on the median rental payment from Realtor.com and median mortgage payment from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to compare the two options. As the...

Newly Built Homes Could Be a Game Changer This Spring


Buying a home this spring? You’re probably navigating today’s affordability challenges and dealing with the limited number of homes for sale. But, what if there was a solution that could help with both?

If you’re having a hard time finding a home you love, and mortgage rates are putting pressure on your budget, it may be time to look at newly built homes. Here’s why.

New Home Construction Is an Inventory Bright Spot

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the number of existing homes for sale has increased this year, there are still fewer available than there were in more typical years in the housing market, like back in 2018 or 2019.

So, if you’re looking to expand your...

Is It Easier To Find a Home To Buy Now?


One of the biggest hurdles buyers have faced over the past few years has been a lack of homes available for sale. But that’s starting to change.

The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show there are more homes on the market in 2024 than there have been in any of the past several years (2021-2023):

a graph of a number of homes for sale

Does That Mean Finding a Home Is Easier?

The answer is yes, and no. As an article from Realtor.com says:

There were nearly 15% more homes for sale in February than a year earlier . . . That alone could jolt the housing market a bit if more “For Sale” signs continue to appear. However, the nation is still suffering from a housing shortage even with all of that new inventory.

Context is important. On the one hand, inventory is up over the past few years. That means you’ll likely have more...

Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Home in Amador County?


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...

Finding Your Perfect Gold County Home in a Fixer Upper


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 ...

The Benefits of Downsizing When You Retire


If you’re taking a look at your expenses as you retire, saving money where you can has a lot of appeal. One long-standing, popular way to do that is by downsizing to a smaller home.

When you think about cutting down on your spending, odds are you think of frequent purchases, like groceries and other goods. But when you downsize your house, you often end up downsizing the bills that come with it, like your mortgage payment, energy costs, and maintenance requirements. Realtor.com shares:

“A smaller home typically means lower bills and less upkeep. Then there’s the potential windfall that comes from selling your larger home and buying something smaller.”

That windfall is thanks to your home equity. If you’ve been in your house for a while, odds are you’ve built up a considerable amount of equity. And that equity is something you can use to help you buy a home that better fits your needs today. Daniel Hunt, CFA at Morgan Stanley, explains:

Home equity can be a significant source of wealth...

Strategic Tips for Buying Your First Home


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 ...

Foreclosure Activity Is Still Lower than the Norm


Have you seen headlines talking about the increase in foreclosures in today’s housing market? If so, they may leave you feeling a bit uneasy about what’s ahead. But remember, these clickbait titles don’t always give you the full story.

The truth is, if you compare the current numbers with what usually happens in the market, you’ll see there’s no need to worry.

Putting the Headlines into Perspective

The increase the media is calling attention to is misleading. That’s because they’re only comparing the most recent numbers to a time where foreclosures were at historic lows. And that’s making it sound like a bigger deal than it is.

In 2020 and 2021, the moratorium and forbearance program helped millions of homeowners stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period.

When the moratorium came to an end, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because foreclosures are up doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.

Historical Data Shows There Isn’t a Wave of Foreclosures

Instead of comparing today’s numbers with the last few abnormal...

How to Prepare now to Sell in Spring - Amador County

Spring is the one of the BEST times to sell a home! If your plan is to list this Spring, make sure you are maximizing your biggest asset by preparing your home properly. There are a lot of things you can between now and Spring to make your property more attractive to Buyers and ensure a smoother transaction. Use this as your checklist to pre-sale prep!

Curb Appeal: Even though most homes in Amador County don’t have actual curbs, we still have to consider the exterior when selling. What is the first thing a Buyer will see when they pull up to your home? Maybe you need to trim some trees, paint, clear brush, or declutter your yard, deck, or driveway. You want potential Buyers to get excited about getting inside! I see Buyers get overwhelmed by home exteriors all the time. If your property looks hard to maintain, it could cost you a Buyer.

Time to Purge:  Decluttering your home makes a HUGE impact when it comes to selling. Not only will it make it easier for buyers to focus on the space rather than your stuff, but it can also make your space feel bigger and more peaceful. Clear surfaces, remove unnecessary items, or furniture.  Decluttering your home now will also benefit you when it comes time to move! Just think: less to pack, less to move.

 Minor Repairs: Most of us have small maintenance items we have been meaning to get around to. Doing those items now can help ensure a smoother sale. Things like, patching a hole, painting, replacing a screen, fix a leaky faucet. These are things that may otherwise be called out during an inspection.

Light it up: What do buyers want? Light and bright! Of course, natural light is important, but you may have areas that could benefit from a lamp, or accent light. You should also replace burnt out bulbs to ensure your...

Homeownership Is Still at the Heart of the American Dream


Buying a home is a powerful decision, and it remains at the heart of the American Dream. Unlike renting, owning a home means more than just having a place to live – it offers a sense of belonging, stability, and freedom. According to Nicole Bachaud, Senior Economist at Zillow:

The American Dream is still owning a home. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for ownership; that isn’t going to go away.”

Let’s explore just a few of the reasons why so many Americans continue to value homeownership. 

The Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

One possible reason homeownership is viewed so highly is because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool. That may be why Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief and VP of Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), ...

Avoid These Common Mistakes After Applying for a Mortgage


If you’re getting ready to buy a home, it’s exciting to jump a few steps ahead and think about moving in and making it your own. But before you get too far down the emotional path, there are some key things to keep in mind after you apply for your mortgage and before you close. Here’s a list of things to remember when you apply for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Cosign Loans for Anyone

When you cosign for...

A Guide to the Defensible Space Inspection in Amador County

Defensible Space Inspections: What You Need To Know During Your Real Estate Transaction

If you are considering Buying or Selling here in Amador County, chances are a Defensible Space Inspection will be a part of your transaction. This guide delves into the steps of the defensible space inspection process, offering valuable insights for homeowners and potential buyers.

  1. What is Defensible Space?: The first step in ensuring a smooth residential sale in high fire risk areas is understanding the concept of defensible space. Cal Fire has defined Defensible Space simply: “Defensible space is the buffer between your structure and the surrounding area.” Ultimately Defensile space is your homes first line of defense against a wildfire. There are many reasons the Defensible Space around your home is important. In the event of a fire not only will proper Defensible Space slow, or even halt fire progress, it also keeps firefighters safe while they defend your home.
  1. Do I have to have a Defensible Space Inspection?:  California has stringent regulations in place to mitigate fire risks, but not every home is required to have a Defensible Space Inspection during the sales process. So how do you know if you will need one or not? Homes that are in a High or Very High fire zone are required to have a Defensible Space Inspection. How do you find out if your home is in one of these zones? You can do this by either checking Cal Fires “Fire Severity Zone Map” on their website, or check your Natural Hazard Disclosure Report. This report is generally ordered by your Real Estate Agent. If your home is in a High, or Very High Fire Zone you will need a Defensible Space Inspection.
  2. Steps and...

The Perfect Home Could Be the One You Perfect After Buying


There’s no denying mortgage rates and home prices are higher now than they were last year and that’s impacting what you can afford. At the same time, there are still fewer homes available for sale than the norm. These are two of the biggest hurdles buyers are facing today. But there are ways to overcome these things and still make your dream of homeownership a reality.

As you set out to make a purchase this season, you’ll want to be strategic. This includes taking a close look at your wish list and considering what features you really need in your next home versus which ones are nice-to-have. This will help you avoid overextending your budget or limiting...

Experts Project Home Prices Will Rise over the Next 5 Years


Even with so much data showing home prices are actually rising in most of the country, there are still a lot of people who worry there will be another price crash in the immediate future. In fact, a recent survey from Fannie Mae shows that 23% of consumers think prices will fall over the next 12 months. That’s nearly one in four people who are dealing with that fear – maybe you’re one of them.

To help ease that concern, here’s what the experts say will happen with home prices not just next year, but over the next five years.

Experts Project Ongoing Appreciation

While seeing a small handful of expert opinions may not be enough to change your mind, hopefully, a larger group...

Home Prices Still Growing – Just at a More Normal Pace


If you’re feeling a bit muddy on what’s happening with home prices, that’s no surprise. Some people are still saying prices are falling, even though data proves otherwise. Part of that misconception is because people are getting their information from unreliable sources. But it’s also coming from some media coverage misrepresenting what the data really shows.

So, to keep things simple, here’s what you really need to know using real data you can trust.

Normal Home Price Seasonality Explained

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that happen each year. It’s called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is typically still strong in the summer but begins to wane as the cooler months approach.

Home prices follow along with seasonality because prices appreciate most when something is in high demand. That’s why there’s a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show the typical percent change for...

Homeowner Net Worth Has Skyrocketed


If you’re weighing your options to decide whether it makes more sense to rent or buy a home today, here’s one key data point that could help you feel more confident in making your decision. Every three years, the Federal Reserve Board releases the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). That report covers the difference in net worth for both homeowners and renters. Spoiler alert: the gap between the two is significant.

The average homeowner’s net worth is almost 40X greater than a renter’s. And here’s the data to prove it (see graph below):

The Big Reason Homeowner Net Worth Is So High

In the previous version of that report, the net worth of the average homeowner was roughly $255,000 and that of the average renter was $6,300. But in the release that just came out this year, the gap widened as homeowner net worth climbed dramatically. As the Survey of...

Reasons To Sell Your House Before the New Year


As the year winds down, you may have decided it's time to make a move and put your house on the market. But should you sell now or wait until January? While it may be tempting to hold off until after the holidays, here are three reasons to make your move before the new year.

Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers

Typically, in the residential real estate market, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and sometimes deprioritize selling their house until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down. But that gives you an opportunity to get one step ahead.

Selling now, while other homeowners may hold off until after the holidays, can help you get a leg up on your competition. Start the process with a real estate agent today so you can get your house on the market before your neighbors do.

Get Your House in Front of Eager Buyers 

Even though the supply of homes for sale did grow compared to last year, it’s still low. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today. While some buyers may also delay their plans to move until January, others will still need to move for personal reasons or because...

Invest in Yourself by Owning a Home


Are you wondering if it makes sense to buy a home right now? While today’s mortgage rates might seem a bit intimidating, here are two compelling reasons why it still may be a good time to become a homeowner.

Home Values Appreciate over Time

There’s been a lot of confusion around what’s happened with home prices over the past two years. While they did dip ever so slightly in late 2022, this year they’ve been appreciating at a more normal pace, which is good news for the housing market. And while looking at price movement over just a year or two can make you worry prices are usually this unpredictable, history shows in the long run, home values rise (see graph below):

 ...

Beginning with Pre-Approval


If you’re looking to buy a home this fall, there are a few things you need to know. Affordability is tight with today’s mortgage rates and rising home prices. At the same time, there’s a limited number of homes on the market right now and that’s creating some competition among buyers. But, if you’re strategic, there are ways to navigate these waters. The first thing you’ll want to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way you’ll know your numbers and can set yourself up for success from the start of your home search.

What Pre-Approval Does for You

To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the homebuying process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you know how much money you can borrow. Freddie Mac explains it like this:

A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that...

Get Ready for Smaller, More Affordable Homes


Have you been trying to buy a home, but higher mortgage rates and home prices are limiting your options? If so, here’s some good news – based on what Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, has to say – smaller, more affordable homes are on the way:

“Buyers should expect that over the next 12 to 24 months there will be a notable increase in the number of entry-level homes available.”

In some ways, smaller homes are already here. When the pandemic hit, the meaning of home changed. People needed the space their home provided not only as a place to live, but as a place to work, go to school, exercise, and more. Those who had that space were more likely to keep it. And those that didn’t were in a position where they were trying to sell their smaller house to move up to a larger one. That meant the homes coming to the market during the pandemic were smaller than those on the market before the pandemic...

From Our Blog

Posts By Category

All Categories Amador County (19) Buying A Home (335) Custom Log Homes (1) Landscape/Curbside Appeal (1) Selling Your Home (97)

Posts By Month

Grab Our RSS Feed
Current Homes for Sale
Upcountry
City # Price Range
Pine Grove 19 $255k - $1.2m
Pioneer 54 $235k - $1.1m
Volcano 13 $199k - $1.1m
Down Country
City # Price Range
Fiddletown 9 $219k - $1.5m
Ione 22 $235k - $2.7m
Jackson 39 $235k - $1.2m
Plymouth 14 $700k - $6.4m
River Pines 2 $220k - $259k
Sutter Creek 22 $253k - $2.8m
New Listing

Email Alerts

Subscribe Today!
Have

Questions?

Contact Us Now!